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BILINGUAL 
RUSSIAN/ 
ENGLISH 
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^yPHAJl OEMHHHCTCKOH IIOCT-TOTAJIHTAPHOH KPHTHKH 




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A JOURNAL OF FEMINIST POST-TOTALITARIAN CRITICIS 



Heresies is an idea-oriented journal devoted to the 
examination of art and politics from a feminist 
perspective. We believe that what is commonly called art 
can have a political impact and that in the making of art 
and all cultural artifacts our identities as women play 
a distinct role. We hope that Heresies continues to 
stimulate dialogue around radical political and aesthetic 
theory as well as to generate new creative energies 
among women. It is a place where diversity can be 
articulated. We are committed to broadening the 
definition and function of art. 

Heresies is published by a collective of feminists, some 
of whom are also socialists, marxists, lesbian feminists, 
or anarchists; our fields include painting, sculpture, 
writing, curating, literature, anthropology, political 
science, psychology, art history, printmaking, 
photography, illustration, and artists' books. While the 
themes of the individual issues are determined by the 
collective, each issue has a different volunteer editorial 
staff composed of members of the mother collective and 
other women interested in that theme. Heresies provides 
experience for women who work editorially, in design, and 
in production. Heresies tries to be accountable to and in 
touch with the international feminist community. 
As women, we are aware that historically the connections 
between our lives, our arts, and our ideas have been 
suppressed. Once these connections are clarified, they 
can function as a means to dissolve the alienation 
between artist and audience and to understand the 
relationship between art and politics, work and workers. 
As a step toward the demystification of art, we reject the 
standard relationship of criticism to art within the present 
system, which has often become the relationship of 
advertiser to product. We will not advertise a new set of 
genius-products just because they are made by women. 
We are not committed to any particular style or aesthetic 
nor to the competitive mentality that pervades the art 
world. Our view of feminism is one of process and 
change, and we feel that through this dialogue we can 
foster a change in the meaning of art. 



Main 
Collective 

Emma Amos 

Zehra F. Arat 

Julie A. Christensen 

Susan Spencer Crowe 

Mila Dau 

Tennessee Rice Dixon 

Barbara Duarte 

Esgalhado 

Carole Gregory 

Kellie Henry 

Laura Hoptman 

Avis Lang 

Evelyn Leong 

Loretta Lorance 

Lii, Xiuyuan 

Judy Molland 

Joey Morgan 

Michele Morgan 

Vernita Nemec 

Ann Pasternak 

Sara Pasti 

Tavia Portt 

Martha Townsend 

Associates 

Ida Applebroog 
Patsy Beckert 
Joan Braderman 
Gail Bradney 
Kathie Brown 
Cynthia Carr 
Josely Carvalho 
Lenora Champagne 
Chris Costan 
Mary Beth Edelson 
Su Friedrich 
Janet Froelich 
C. Palmer Fuller 
Michele Godwin 
Pennelope Goodfriend 
Vanalyne Green 
Kathy Grove 
Harmony Hammond 



Sue Heinemann 
Elizabeth Hess 
Lyn Hughes 
Joyce Kozloff 
Arlene Ladden 
Ellen Lanyon 
Nicky Lindeman 
Lucy R. Lippard 
Melissa Meyer 
Robin Michals 
Sabra Moore 
Linda Peer 
Marty Pottenger 
Carrie Rickey 
Elizabeth Sacre 
Miriam Schapiro 
Amy Sillman 
Joan Snyder 
Elke M. Solomon 
Pat Steir 
May Stevens 
Michelle Stuart 
Susana Torre 
Cecilia Vicuna 
Elizabeth Weatherford 
Sally Webster 
Faith Wilding 
Nina Yankowitz 
Holly Zox 

Advisors 

Vivian E. Browne 
Ada Ciniglio 
Elain Lustig Cohen 
Eleanor Munro 
Linda Nochlin 
Barbara Quinn 
Jane Rubin 
Ann Sperry 
Rose Weil 



Many thanks to our donors: 

Alterman & Boop, P.C. 

Amos Technologies 

Stephanie H. Bernheim 

Barbara Duarte Esgalhado 

Ronald Feldman Fine Arts 

June Kelly Gallery 

Lii, Xiuyuan 

C. Lee 

Sheila Levrant de Bretteville 

Miriam Mahari 

Jane Pincus 

Maryellen Ponsford 

Joan Snyder 

Albert & Sara B. Webster 

Many thanks to our 

interns and office volunteers: 

Raney Aronson 
Rachel Hinton 
Ellen McCarthy 
Natasha Saltrup 

Guidelines for Contributors: 

Heresies publishes feminist fiction, 
nonfiction, political/cultural commentary 
poetry, experimental writing, page art, and 
every kind of visual art. Each issue has a 
specific thematic orientation; please indicate 
on your envelope which theme(s) your work 
addresses. Manuscripts should be typed 
double-spaced. Visual material should be 
submitted in the form of a xerox, phi 
or slide with artist's name, title, medium, 
size, and date noted; however, Here . 
must have a b&w photograph or equivalent t< 
publish the work, if accepted. We will not be 
responsible for original art. All material must 
be accompanied by an SASE if you wish it to 
be returned. We do not publish reviews or 
monographs on contemporary women. We 
cannot guarantee acceptance of submitted 
material. Heresies pays a small fee 
published work. 

Heresies: A Feminist Publication on Ai 
and Politics is published twice a year I . 
Heresies Collective Inc., 280 Broadway, Suiit 
412, New York, NY 10007. Subscription 
rates for 4 issues: $23/individuals, 
$33/institutions. Outside the U.S., i :' 
per 4 issues postage. Single copies ■ 
current issue: $6.75. 
Back issues available at varying prici 
Address all correspondence to Here: 
PO Box 1306, Canal Street Station, 
New York, NY 10013. 

Heresies, ISSN 0146-3411, Vol. 7, No. 2, 
Issue 26. © 1992, Heresies Collective Inc. 
All rights reserved. 

Heresies is indexed by the Alternative Press 
Index, Box 33109, Baltimore, MD 2: - 
and the American Humanities Index, 



This publication has been 
made possible, in part, with 
public funds from the New '/;:.. . 
York State Council on the Arts.^ j 

We also wish to thank the ^ 
Ms. Foundation for Education ^ 
and Communication. Inc., ft> r ■% 
their generous support of the ^ 
IdiomA project. 






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Inc. 



,rts: ; ; 



"Reading Heresies is more fun than a 
barrel of monkeys . . . thought-provoking 
and enlightening . . . . A splendid journal; 
try it, you'll love it!" 

Women Library Workers Journal 



"The masthead reads like a Who 's Who of 
feminist artists, critics, writers, performers, 
art historians, etc. But Heresies is much 
more than the sum of its parts. When you 
open the well-produced magazine you are 
confronted by a kaleidoscopic assemblage 
of literature, art, interviews, reportage, 
theory, and history that works to broaden 
the definition and function of art. " 

Utne Reader 



"Heresies is a refined and powerful 
publication — intellectually, graphically, 
philosophically, and creatively . . . 
thought-provoking substance and beauty. . . 

Magazine For Libraries 



"This is the kind of magazine you can read 
in any order. The plentiful, playful graphics 
tumble you into a world of stories, ideas, 
paintings, theories, tirades, photographs, and 
collages on a special theme. Although the 
Heresies Collective takes on serious feminist 
subjects . . . they avoid being didactic by 
publishing lots of different voices, usually first 
person. . . . That makes Heresies one of the 
liveliest feminist publications out there. " 

Whole Earth Review 



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O 21. Food Is a Feminist Issue 

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HERESIES PO Box 1306, Canal St. Station, New York, NY 10013 




A FEMINIST PUBLICATION ON ART AND POLITICS 



FROM THE RUSSIAN EDITORS OF IDIOMA 4 



THE STORY OF IDIOMA 4 

Alia Efimova 



FROM THE U.S. EDITORS OF HERESIES Q 




REFLECTIONS OF RESISTANCE: Women Artists on Both Sides of the Mir 8 

Jo Anna Isaak 

Natalya Nesterova, Natalya Goncharova, Liubov Popova, Varvara Stepanova, Sana Lebedeva, Vera Mukhina, 

Ekaterina Khikova, Tamara Starzenyetskaya, Irina Starzenyetskaya, Dzemma Skulme, Ira Zatulovskaya, 

Aleksandr Samokhvalov, Tatyana Nazarenko, Natalya Turnova, Elena Keller, Svetlana Bogatir, Clara Golitsina, 

Elena Figurina, Vera Miturich-Khlebnikova, Vera Khlebnikova, Nonna Gronova, Bella Matveeva, Irina Nakhova, 

Maria Konstantinova, Yelena Elagina, Olga Chernysheva, The Peppers, Svetlana Kopystianskaya 

WHY HAVE THERE BEEN NO GREAT WOMEN ARTISTS? 38 

Linda Nochlin (Russian translation) 

AROUND I> : Power and the Magic of Writing 44 

Irina Sandomirskaya 

Irina Kuksinite, Alexandra Dementieva, Maria Serebriakova, Maya Khlobystin, 

Ludmila Markelova, Natta Konisheva, Marta Volka, Elena Romanova 




THE FIRST FEMINIST ART EXHIBITIONS IN THE U.S.S.R. 62 

Esther Zhezmer 

Olga Astafyeva, Aleksandra Korsakova, Tatyana Spasolomskaya, Yekaterina Kornilova, Olga Chernysheva, 
llona Gansovskaya, Ludmila Markelova, Tatyana Petrova, Natalya Turnova, Natalya Kamenetzkaya 

DEALING WITH GENDER: Two Shows 77 
Olesya Turkina and Victor Mazin 




WOMAN WORKER 80 

Yelena Selina 

THE REVOLT OF THE DAUGHTERS 83 

A Personal Recollection of Aleksandra Korsakova 
As Told to Irina Sandomirskaya by Olga Petrochuk 



A CONVERSATION WITH ALEKSANDRA KORSAKOVA (1904-1990) 91 



miHii 



FEMINITY AND POWER: Participants' Statements 

Olga Astafieva, Olga Chernysheva, llona Gansovskaya, Natalya Kamenetzkaya, Yekaterina Kornilova, 
Ludmila Markelova, Tatyana Petrova, Tatyana Spasolomskaya, Natalya Turnova 



95 




BILINGUAL 

RUSSIAN/ 

ENGLISH 
ISSUE 





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>KyPHAJI cDEMHHHCTCKOH 
nOCT-TOTAJlHTAPHOH KPHTHKH 

A JOURNAL OF FEMINIST 
POST-TOTALITARIAN CRITICISM 



From the Russian Editors of IdiomA 



The end of the colonial era has led to paradigmatic shifts in; 
the humanities and social sciences, making postcolonial discourse 
a major theoretical influence. Today the collapse of many so-called 
totalitarian regimes calls for a similar reorientation. IdiornA aims to 
contribute to and challenge methods of cultural analysis —* :■. 
including feminism, Marxism, psychoanalysis, semiotics, discourse 
analysis, and others — while explicitly taking into consideration the 
phenomenon of totalitarian societies. 

IdiomA has both an international and a cross-disciplinary 
perspective, following the conviction that contributions from 
sociology, political science, anthropology, and linguistics can 
greatly benefit cultural theory. At the same time, we believe that 
theorizations of culture are to be found not just in scholarly writings 
but also in artistic practice. 

We further believe that the histories of both democratic and 
totalitarian societies are part of the modern project. The 
problematics of cultural theory in the West are largely determined 
by "forgetting" the cultural forms that modernity assumed in other 
societies, such as the ex-Soviet bloc countries. IdiomA will foster 
interdisciplinary and international dialogues by aiming to 
reformulate such issues as culture and power, the functioning of 
ideology, political systems and gender, and strategies of 
resistance, and by juxtaposing and comparing the cultural 
mechanisms at work in Eastern and Western societies. 

Recent political changes in Eastern Europe made public for 
the first time the discussions and investigations of "totalitarian" 
structures in these countries. This easing of censorship, together 
with improved access to Western sources and historical materials, 
has resulted in many unorthodox writings on culture and politics, 
some of which are now becoming available to the Western reader 
[ed. note: see, e.g., the upcoming work by IdiomA editorial 
committee members Efimova and Manovich, Russian Essays on 



Visual Culture} (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993)1 
"The Philosophical Foundations of Postmodern Culture" workshon 
was ; ; the pioneer in this development; IdiomA continues the 
intellectual exchange between Western and East European 
scholars and critics. 



The Story of IdiiomA 

Alia Efimova 

The story begins in 1979 when I was dismembered by an"' 
immigration clerk at the border. While transcribing my 
documents into English she made a clean incision, without • 
a drop of ink, and cut off the afrom the end of my name. It 
was thrown into the sea, intptlie void between the two 
continents and two idioms. The a turned into aphros — the-3 
white sea foam — and perhaps Aphrodite was born from it * 
and stepped out onto the island of Cyprus, but I was not 
informed of such an occurrence. 5 

This was the slow sonorous a-a-a drawn out by my auntjjl 
when shevspoke; the punctufed:;a,a,a . .. of my father when- 
he hesitated; the elevated capital X of Anna Akhmatova. 
I missed it but was learning to do without. 

No, the story begins in 1989 when I landed in Moscow 
again. There I met the other editors of IdiomA and knew 
right there and.then that my precious letter could be gotten 
back, although it would be only a prosthesis. We shared 
many a's: Efimova, Kamenetskaya, Sandomirskaya. The 
secret a' s of women's sighs, fearful sobs, painful cries, and 
quiet disappointments. But also the a of the Hebrew aleph 
and the Greek alpha, the allegory of beginning, the firs 
letter of the alphabet as well as the beginning of writing and 
signification. 

The three of us had the magic number, the magic letter, 

and the Devil came to us in dreams, or perhaps it was the 
Angel of Esperanto wearing the leather jacket of an 
anarchist. We traveled between Moscow and New York, w 
translated and mistranslated, understood and 
misunderstood, and finally pieced together this tower of 
Babel on the pages of Heresies. And this is where our story a s 
ends and the real story of IdiomA begins. 

Hopefully the reader will react to it with the surprise 
a-hal of recognition and understanding. But if the texts 
remain obscure, just remember that the A also belongs to 
anti- and against ... 



4 Heresies/idiomA 



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PcqaKTopcKaa rpynna: 

HpHHa CAHZlOMMPCKAfl 
AJUIA EOHMOBA 
HaTajiMM KAMEHEUKA5! 

riepeBo^w: 

Panca P03HHA 

th5i m-myAinBH/iH 
c&oto: 

Auapeii AME/1HH 
MnxaHJi MHXA/lbM>'K 



Russian Editorial Collective 

Alia Efimova 

Natalya Kamenetzkaya 

Irina Sandomirskaya 

Translations 

Raisa Rozina 
Giya Tzitzuashvili 

Photographs and Slides 

Andrey Amelin 
Mikhail Mikhalchuk 



This publication was made possible, in part, 
through the assistance of the Soviet-American 
Foundation 's Cultural Initiative program. The 
Russian editors also wish to extend their gratitude 
to Kathna vanden Heuvel; Vyacheslav Glazychev; 
Kerstie Salevid; U.N. Association ofSkane; U.N. 
Association of Sweden; Derek Sauer and Dan 
Roam, NPK-Vesta; and Natalya Cubetskaya, 
Women for Social Renovation. 



noka.; 
cioiir 



yrcB nenoH5iTHbiMH 
bo rjiaBe onoBa «aHTH». 



6CJIH TeKCTbl 

noMHHTe, mto «a» TaK>Ke 




Heresies/idiomA 



From the U.S. Editors of Heresies 



How interesting this project has been, and how 
pleased we are that it fell into our laps! One night in the 
spring of 1991, with minimal notice, two women from 
Moscow — painter Natalya Kamenetzkaya and linguist 
Irina Sandomirskaya — came to Emma Amos's loft in order to 
show IdiomA to the Heresies collective and see if we might be 
interested in publishing it for them so that it might achieve a 
reasonable level of distribution and become part of an 
international dialogue. Perestroika, whether one wanted to 
acknowledge it or not, said Irina, had given rise to real 
conversation and to finding out who people were as 
individuals. Used to concealing their stories, women 
had suddenly started revealing themselves, speaking 
out, acting out. Exhibitions, events, and articles 
resulted; IdiomA was created. 

Irina and Natasha brought with them typeset 
Russian essays, English translations, slides, photographs, even 
color separations. In the Russian tradition of samizdat, or self- 
publication, they came with their material more or less ready to 
print. Several women they met in New York, including Heresies 
founders Elizabeth Hess and Joyce Kozloff, had suggested 
Heresies as a possible collaborator for IdiomA. 

At that moment Heresies was short on funds and 

short on active members, but everyone who was at the 
meeting was so impressed and so excited that we 
ended up saying yes. The preponderant part of the 



jaeSklf/ 



funding came, we're delighted to say, from the V.s. 

Foundation for Education and Communication, Inc. 

Everything else here fell into place as the situation over 

there, including the Soviet Union as a union, fell apart. 

For our overview, Jo Anna Isaak reworked a chapter of her 

forthcoming book on feminist issues in contemporary art, The 

Revolutionary Power of Women's Laughter (Routledge). Happily 

for Jo as well as for Heresies, Jo's sabbatical from Hobart and 

William Smith Colleges coincided with our work on this issue. We 

are grateful to Jo for spending hours hunting down and labeling 

photographs when she could have been going fishing, 

and for allowing us to work in her magical hidden 

garden with our wonderful designer, Tina Sher. Jo also 

managed to spend ten days in Moscow and St. 

Petersburg in late November 1991, accompanied by 

photographer Susan Unterberg, visiting studios and 

photographing the work of women artists. Alia Efimova (until 

recently Yefimov — see her piece on the preceding pages), a 

member of the original Russian collective who is now pursuing a 

Ph.D. at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, gave hours of her 

time to assessing our editorial work on the original translations 

and to debating the fine points of translation with Heresies 

managing editor. 

Bilingual readers will notice that the edited English 

^^^^^^^^^ translations sometimes involve reworking, cutting and 

pasting, or shortening of the Russian texts. Much 




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cutting, pasting, and reconstruction also had to be done on the 
Russian typesetting we were given; sometimes we had only 
xeroxes to work with. One piece, Linda Nochlin's classic 1971 
essay, "Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?" has 
-been printed only in Russian because it is already extremely well 
known in English. Jo Anna Isaak's very long essay has been 
printed only in English for the sake of economy, but a Russian 
ftranslation has been produced in Moscow and will be included 
with copies sold overseas. The production process — the hands- 
on final phase of putting the actual magazine together — has 
reflected the spirit and pleasure of connection and collaboration 
between East and West that has been part of IdiomA's goal from 
the outset. 

Last but not least, we're happy to announce that Heresies is 
truly back on track again after two years of not publishing, 
funding cuts, disagreements over acceptance of NEA money with 
strings, losses of many veteran members, repopulation and 
expansion of the main collective, and a series of significant 
Victories in an extremely disagreeable and prolonged lawsuit. 
Welcome back, readers! 



iMA) 




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- & 




Editorial Issue Collective (U.S.) 

Tennessee Rice Dixon 
Jo Anna Isaak 
Avis Lang 
Sara Pasti 

Staff 

Avis Lang, managing editor 

Kellie Henry, administrative assistant 

ArT Direction & Design 

Tina Dobrowolska Sher 

Production Assistance 

Elena Ivanova 
Michael Markham 

Translations 

Irina Antonyan 
Galina Baranikas 
Alia Efimova 
Irina Nakhova 

Additional Cyrillic Typesetting 

Debra Williams Cauley 

Additional Cyrillic Proofreading 

Galina Baranikas 

Photography, Conversions, Retouching 

Galowitz Photographies 
Kathy Grove 
Susan Unterberg 

High Resolution Output by 
Applied Graphics Technologies 

Printed by Wickersham 
Printing Company, Inc., 
Lancaster, Pennsylvania 



ISl 
MS 



Heresies/idiomA 7 




Jo Anna Isaak 



Writing in the idiom A 



IdiomA, the title of the first Russian 
feminist art magazine, the first issue of which 
you are about to read, is intended to suggest 
the beginning of a dialogue among women. 
A is the first letter of many alphabets {alpha, 
the beginning); in the Russian language it 
also indicates the feminine gender of nouns. 
Feminine nouns and most personal names for 
women end in a (Irina, Natalya, Natasha) or are 
formed by adding a to the masculine names 
(Alexandr/ Alexandra; Yevgeny/Yevgenya). A 
woman's name is composed of a first name, a 
middle name or patronymic formed from her 
father's first name, and a last name formed 
from her father's last name or, if she is 
married, her husband's last name. Anna 
Ivanova Petrova would be the daughter of Ivan 
(her father's first name) and wife of Petrov (her 
husband's last name) or else the daughter of 
Ivan Petrov. Russians normally address adults 
who are not relatives or close friends by their 



"Russian women 
are daily and doubly 

encoded by their 

relationship to their 

fathers and 

husbands." 



first name plus their patronymic. Thus Russian , 
women are daily and doubly encoded by their 
relationship to their fathers and husbands. 
A is also frequently used at the end of both 
masculine and feminine names to form the 
diminutive. 

Many feminine diminutives are 
derogatory. Baba, depending on the context, 
can mean "grandmother," "peasant woman," 
or simply "old woman," but it is also a slang 
term used in a demeaning or humorous manner 
by males for adult females in general. Various 
suffixes ending in a also denote the female in 
occupations; bibliotekarsha (librarian), 
tkachikha (textile worker), uborshchitsa 
(janitor). These simply distinguish female from 
male workers. However, for the more 
prestigious professions, the feminine a brings 
with it decidedly pejorative connotations; it 
simultaneously names the woman and place in 
doubt her qualifications for the job. 
Inzhenersha (engineer), advokatsha (lawyer), 
vrachikha or doctorsha (doctor) could be either 
the wife of one of these professionals or a 



8 Heresies/idiomA 



• 



woman who has practiced these professions 
but is not adequately-skilled or trained. 
Even for some traditionally female jobs the 
feminine ending casts doubt upon the woman's 
competence: sekretarsha (secretary) suggests 
someone who spends more time painting her 
fingernails than typing. Khudozhnitsa (artist) or 
poetesa (poet) suggests, as does "poetess" 
in English, affectation and dilettantism. No 
woman would refer to herself by these feminine 
parties, for to do so would be to undermine 
ner professional status; instead she would 
adopt the masculine name of the profession, 
significantly, uchonyj (scholar) is a masculine 
noun that has no feminine form. Uchonyaya 
can be used only as a adjective to mean that 
a particular woman is a learned person, but 
ere exists no category of female scholars 

Km h t0 Whi ° h She could belon £- As a 
Thl ^ W ° man ' She is theref ore an exception. 
vervf feministka (feminist) is another word 
freQ^ W « WOmen Would cal1 themselves; it is 
in JJ, e " t,y used as a term of abuse. To write 
om a ls thus to write in the feminine 



"To write in the 

idiom a is thus to 

write in the feminine 

idiom and 

simultaneously to 

write under a sign 

of negation." 



idiom and simultaneously to write under a 
sign of negation. 

The project of IdiomA is to initiate an 
exploration of contemporary representational 
systems that have determined the social 
production of sexual difference and gender 
hierarchy and to raise questions about how 
women speak and are represented within these 
systems. Like the French feminists, the group 
around IdiomA is trying to find a voice for 
women, a language, Tecriture feminine." 
As Lisa Tickner has pointed out, "The major 
premise (and promise) of the women's 
movement since the sixties has been to find 
a 'voice' for women, intelligible, yet separate 
from the patriarchal voice, and to reclaim the 
image of woman from the representations of 
others." 1 Reading how woman is constructed 
as sign in what was, until recently, Soviet 
society is like entering the futurist play The 
Worldbackwards. Like many letters of the 
Russian alphabet that seem reversed to us, 
the ways in which "woman" is represented 
is frequently the mirror inversion of the 



Heresies/idiomA 9 



representation of woman in the West. 
In looking at the image of women on the other 
side of this mirror, we have an opportunity 
(almost as we could with computer image 
programming) to see how our lot would differ if 
our image was different. 

To undertake this task of writing and 
righting in the context of the powerful 
patriarchal syntax of Soviet culture is to initiate 
a more difficult project than that undertaken in 
1968 by the French feminists or by Western 
feminists in general. Psychoanalytic theory, so 



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instrumental in the development of the 
theoretical formulations of the women's 
movement in the West has, until recently, been 
unavailable to Soviet feminist theoreticians. 
As a result of its suppression, they have been 
working without an account of the cultural 
construction of gender. Soviet women do not 
share the forty years of feminist intellectual 
work that followed upon Simone de Beauvoir's 
1949 statement "One is not born, but rather 



HaTajibfl HecrepoBa 

Natalya Nesterova, Park, o/c, 

80x100 cm., 1978. 

Coll. Peter Ludwig, Cologne. 

Photo courtesy of Margarita 

Tupitsyn. 



becomes, a woman." Without this intellectual 
history and without a theory of the construction 
of subjectivity, discussions of gender take 
place within the circularity of essentialist, 
biological paradigms, or collapse into what Irina 
Sandomirskaya here calls the sexual 
"indifference" of totalitarian androgyny. 

Even among the intelligentsia and artistic 
groups in the Soviet Union, there is still a 
strong resistance to shifting the intellectual 
debate about gender equality away from its 
deadlock within binary terms and facile 
formulations. In a recent interview the 
prominent Russian writer Tatyana Tolstaya 
claimed that feminism was really a 
consequence of the commonplace habit in the 
West of thinking in terms of stereotypes: "You 
know what feminists invented: they invented 
the idea of phallocracy — that the world is bad 
because it is ruled by men. That is completely ■ 
ridiculous because, for example, England is 
ruled by a woman." 2 Tolstaya speaks from 
within the limitations of essentialist thought, 
and her statements reveal both the limitations 
and the sexisms inherent in construing 
femininity in these terms. The fact that her 
opinions are similar to those that would be 
expressed by the least informed and most 
unsympathetic members of our society gives 
us some indication of how widespread are the 
misgivings and misunderstandings about 
feminism. 

The artist Natalya Nesterova (b.1944) 
was reluctant to be included in an all-women's 
art exhibition. She clearly felt the need to 
distance herself from the category "woman 
artist": "I haven't got a high esteem for female 
artists, apart from a few exceptions. Men 
happen to be more intelligent. Professions that 
require a lot of wit and intelligence should be 
done by men, and art is as much a matter of 
the mind as it is of the heart." When asked 
about herself, she said, "Me, I am an 
exception." 3 In spite of such statements, 
Nesterova is not at all an unsympathetic 
woman. She wants only the right to forget 
herself as woman, but her own comments 
reveal that to do so she must participate in the 
exclusion or negation of women. Nesterova is 
an official artist, highly favored by the Artists' 
Union, to which she was admitted in 1969. Her 
views are commonplace among the few women 
who have achieved prominence within male- 
dominated institutions; the cost of their 
success can be read in such denigrations of 
their own sex. 

Ironically, Soviet women can be the 
strongest proponents of male chauvinism. 
Galina Starovoytova is the only woman in Boris 
Yeltsin's administration. Rather than see 



10 Heresies/idiomA 



31 

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herself as a forerunner for the equitable 
anticipation of women in political life, she 
eDeatedly refers to herself as if she were an 
aberration, saying that women have no place in 
olitical |jf ef thereby making her presence as 
^threatening to her male colleagues as 
possible and deterring other women from 
entering the political arena. At the same time, 
there are many highly politicized Soviet women 
:Mo, while being very supportive of their female 
Colleagues, would resist being categorized as 
*wbmen artists" or "women writers" and would 
Hot accept the terms of our American feminist 
debates. Their resistance is grounded in a 
■cbtriplex postrevolutionary and postwar 
intellectual history. 

Feminism stands in a particularly vexed 
•position vis-a-vis a number of conflicting 
currents within both official and unofficial 
Soviet ideology. With the 1917 revolution came 
the most extensive social restructuring in 
modern history, one that arguably, even to this 
day, articulates the most progressive programs 
of emancipation for women. 4 The women and 
men engaged in working out these reforms 
were not involved in feminist activism in the 
usual sense; they were not a disenfranchised 
group with little power, working to improve the 
condition of women in general. The women's 
section of the Bolshevik party, the Zhenotdel, 
was not an oppositional group, but rather an 
integral part of the government. A separate 
feminist movement outside the party was 
discouraged on the grounds that it could lead 
to a contingent of labor breaking away from the 
common class struggle. It was under charges 
of bourgeois individualism that the Zhenotdel 
was dismantled in 1930, and these charges 
resonate in the lives of women today, who are 
sensitive to the notion that feminism (which 
they associate much more with current Western 
-feminism than with their own historical 
women's movement) is somehow "selfish." 
While they may be acutely aware of women's 
daily hardships, they are less likely to rectify 
those wrongs through collective action with 
other women than to work on behalf of their 
family or immediate community. Women are 
quick to point out that conditions are not good 
for men, either. Also, many Soviet women 
Would avoid participating in a feminist 
movement because they have developed a 
jeep distrust of all political movements and 
collective identities, seeing them as 

rath^h 16 "^ ° n the autonom V of tne individual 
erthan as vehicles of group empowerment. 
s may be particularly true for women artists 
< writers who have found in the activity of art 

•&we • V6nUe f ° r personal > subjective 

ssion — something denied them in most 



"To undertake this task 

of writing and righting 

in the context of the 

powerful 

patriarchal syntax of 

Soviet culture is to 

initiate a more difficult 

project than that 
undertaken in 1968 by 
the French feminists or 

by Western 
feminists in general." 



other areas of their lives. The idea of organizing 
to secure for themselves and for other women 
a different kind of treatment or visibility is often 
seen by them as inimical to what is most 
important to them in their activity as artists — 
the exploration of their own subjectivity. I have 
visited the Soviet Union five times since 1981 
and have made scores of studio visits; during 
that time I came to understand that a good 
deal of the art I was seeing was political, if only 
in its assertion of the validity of the personal. 

As we become more knowledgeable 
about the history of the women's movement in 
the Soviet Union and more conscious of the 
obstacles faced by contemporary feminists in 
these chaotic times as the Commonwealth of 
Independent States takes shape, our 
admiration for this fledgling movement 
associated with IdiomA will increase. Their 
movement may need to recapitulate some 
developments of Western feminism, including 
some of our mistakes; it is also possible that 
the dialogue IdiomA initiates may speed them 
past pitfalls in which we have floundered. On 
the other hand, these women may help us out 
of some of our own ruts. There is much to be 
gained from looking beyond our American or 
Eurocentric points of reference, to look, not for 
more problems, but rather for alternatives to 
our own practices. We know very little about 
cultural production in countries that are not 
capitalist or not, at least not yet, caught up in 
the machinations of commodity fetishism. Nor 
do we know much about areas, such as the 
Baltic region, where for decades women have 
taken the leading role in cultural production. 
It is only within the past ten years that the 
discipline of art history in the West has begun 
to expand its analytical perspective to include 
non-Western versions of modernism, such as 
the Russian avant-garde. Western feminist 
artists and art historians have not yet begun 
to fathom the importance of the role played by 
women artists in the development of that 
practice, nor why the roles for Western women 
artists were so much more circumscribed 
during the same period. Our concerns have 
been conditioned by the conversation of our 
own feminist community, which at times 
contributes to our confinement; inevitably 
we have worked from within a given set of 
intellectual, political, and artistic paradigms. 
IdiomA is an invitation to expand our 
conversational community, widen our frame of 
reference, and look forward beyond the present 
impasse known to us variously as late 
capitalism, postmodernism, or postfeminism. 



Heresies/idiomA 11 



Women Artists 
of the Avant-Garde 

What amazes Western viewers when first 
introduced to the art of the Russian avant-garde 
is the women — the prodigious amount of work 
produced by the many, many women artists 
who belonged to this revolutionary art 
movement of, loosely, 1910-1930. It is the 
first historical epoch in which women were able 
to contribute freely as cultural workers, 
theoreticians, and art educators, and they did 
so in large numbers, producing works of 
exceptional merit. The reviews of the Costakis 
collection shown at the Guggenheim in 1981 
focused on what for Western critics was a novel 
phenomenon: the achievements of women 
artists. Hilton Kramer wrote, "The Russian 
avant-garde was the only movement of its kind 
in which the achievements of women were 
unquestionably equal to their male 
colleagues . . . ." 5 The question that presents 
itself is why, at this particular historical 
moment, women came into the forefront of the 
avant-garde in large numbers and why this did 
not occur in the West. 

Even their contemporary critics were awed 
by these women. Writing about the women 
artists of his generation, Benedikt Livshits said, 
"These were the real Amazons, these Scythian 
riders." 6 He is referring to the earliest historical 
references to women in Russia, invoking a 
legendary society of women who dominated the 
south of ancient Rus. Information about them 
comes from early Greek texts, which describe 
them as skilled riders and warriors as well as 
astute linguists. (Herodotus reports that they 
quickly learned the language of the men with 
whom they briefly consorted, while the men 
never mastered theirs.) It is interesting that 
Livshits, who himself worked with the women 
artists of Russia's avant-garde, collaborating on 
what was to be one of the most fascinating 
chapters in the history of art, describes them in 
these mythic terms, as if they were legends in 
their own time. 

The myth of the strong Russian woman, 
like all myths pertaining to women, is 
something to be wary of; nevertheless, it may 
have functioned as an enabling myth compared 
to the debilitating constructions of woman as 
the "weaker sex," "the angel of the house," or 
the "femme fatale." In the case of women 
artists, these alternative constructions become 
particularly significant. Rozsika Parker and 
Griselda Pollock have persuasively argued that 
in England and Europe by the nineteenth 
century, with the consolidation of a patriarchal 
bourgeoisie as the dominant class, femininity 
was constructed as exclusively domestic and 



"Our passports 
call ms workers, 
. cjenimses." 



maternal, despite the fact that more and more 
women were of necessity entering the labor 
force. At the same time, evolving bourgeois 
notions of the artist associated creativity with 
everything that was antidomestic, and the 
Bohemian model of the free-living, sexually 
energetic, socially alienated "genius" became 
the stereotype of the artist who was, by this 
definition, male. 7 Art was represented as the 
ideal of self-fulfilling, creative activity, and its 
antithesis was proletarian alienated labor, but 
its full opposite, suggests Pollock, "is the 
repetitive and self-effacing drudgery of what is 
called 'woman's work.'" 8 Through such 
constructs, artists and women were allotted 
almost antithetical, yet equally marginalized, 
roles within Western bourgeois culture. 

This historical bifurcation, between 
woman and artist on the one hand, and artist 
and participatory member of society on the 
other, did not take place in Russia because 
Russia lacked a bourgeoisie of the sort that 
provided the impetus for developing a 
comparable ideology of domesticity. In contrast 
with the middle class in industrializing Europe 
and America, which had begun to idealize 
family life, most progressive Russians found 
such an ideal self-centered. The novelist 
Nadezhda Khvoshchinskaia spoke for many of 
them when she wrote that family happiness is 
the "vulgar happiness of locked-up houses, 
tidy and orderly; they seem to smile a welcome 
at the outsider, but they give him nothing 
but that smug and stupid smile. These oases 
are simply individual egotism united into family 
egotism. They are orderly, temperate, and 
self-satisfied — and totally self-involved." 9 
This antifamily sentiment was widespread, 
and many Russian women began to seek 
out ways of participating in public life. During 
the late nineteenth century, numbers of 
doctors, teachers, artists, and other members 
of the intelligentsia — hundreds of them 
women — travelled to the countryside to work : 
toward ameliorating poor living conditions in 
peasant communities. The women in particular 
took on this work with the altruism of a 
religious campaign. Utterly dedicated, living 
in wretched material conditions, often without 
the comfort of family or personal relationships, 
they devoted their lives to improving the lot 
of the Russian peasants. While these were 
not feminist movements (these women were 
more interested in improving the conditions 
of the peasants than in improving their own 
circumstances), from their activities the 
women's movement emerged and resulted 
in advances for women in higher education, 
particularly medicine and education, and in 
the high visibility of women in leadership 



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within later revolutionary groups. 



Several artists' colonies and art schools, 
ome established by women, were based upon 
similar hybrid of philanthropic and democratic 
strivings- Long before the revolution, there was 
a well developed tradition of social commitment 
ori the part of both women and artists. A good 
deal of the work made by the artists in these 
colonies was based upon folk art and crafts 
=ahci was intended to be of use to the local 
population. One of the most prominent 
members of the early avant-garde was Natalya 
Goncharova (1881-1962), whose paintings of 
; ^g09_1912 depicted the cyclical life and labor 
of the Russian peasantry. Goncharova's work 
viMs deeply influenced by Russian folk 
traditions, such as the popular wood-block print 
"ilaboKj, semiabstract embroidery patterns, 
Relent Scythian sculpture, wood carvings, and 
icon paintings. Unlike the cultural 
Impropriations of French artists, who were at 



HaTaJibfl ron^apoBa 
Natalya Goncharova, Planting 
Potatoes, o/c, 11x132 cm., 
1908-09. 



this time exploring primitive art imported from 
France's colonies, the interest in primitive art in 
Russia was fueled by nationalist sentiment. 
Such attitudes had considerable influence on 
the inception of abstract art, which in Russia 
was to follow a vastly different trajectory from 
that of abstractionism in the West. 

In 1913 Goncharova wrote a remarkable 
manifesto in which she distinguished Russian 
art from Western art expressly because of the 
West's adherence to archaic notions of 
individuality and genius: "I shake off the dust of 
the West and I consider all those people 
ridiculous and backward who still imitate 
Western models in the hope of becoming pure 
painters .... Similarly, I find those people 
ridiculous who advocate individuality and who 
assume there is some value in their 'I' even 
when it is extremely limited." One of her 
objectives was "[t]o fight against the debased 
and decomposing doctrine of individualism, 



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Heresies/ idiom A 13 





which is now in a period of agony. ... In the 
age of the flowering of individualism, I destroy 
this holy of holies and refuge of the hidebound 
as being inappropriate to our contemporary and 
future way of life." 10 

Goncharova's critique of modernism 
as it was emerging in the West is remarkably 
similiar to that undertaken in the past ten years 
by many Western feminists, who have worked 
to dismantle bourgeois notions of individuality, 
originality, and creativity and have begun to 
explore the terrain opened up by the 
deconstruction of the mythic figure of the 
auteur-artist. This work is central to the 
feminist project because, as Pollock has 
pointed out, "it is only feminists who have 
nothing to lose with the desecration of Genius. 
The individualism of which the artist is a prime 
symbol is gender exclusive." 11 In its radical 
reassessment of the function of the artist, 
the Russian avant-garde is arguably one of the 
most significant manifestations in the history 

14 Heresies/idiomA 



TOP: 

/lrn6oBb nonoBa 

Liubov Popova, work uniform 

designs for actors at the Free Studio 

of Vsevolod Meyerhold, State Higher 

Theater Workshop (GVYTM), 1921. 

BOTTOM: 

BapBapa CrenaHOBa 
Varvara Stepanova, costume 
designs for The Death of Tarelkin, 
1922. Photo: Jo Anna Isaak. 

OPPOSITE TOP: 

Cappa JleGaneBa 

Sarra Lebedeva, Portrait of the 

General Secretary of the Communist 

Party, Felix Dzerzhinsky, bronze, h. 

49 cm., 1925. State Tretyakov 

Gallery, Moscow. 

OPPOSITE BOTTOM: 

Bepa MyxHHa 

Vera Mukhina, Worker and Collective 

Farmworker, bronze, h.163 cm., 

1937. State Tretyakov Gallery, 

Moscow. 



of art for both women and women artists. 
Following the Russian revolution, no 
radical shift in roles was necessary for artists 
influenced by utilitarian craft traditions, to turn 
their energies to such things as housing, 
clothing, daycare, and training in hygiene and 
basic literacy. They addressed themselves to 
mundane material domestic needs, to the petty 
yet pressing problems of daily life that in 
Russian are called byt and affect women most 
directly. For this reason it can be argued that a 
utilitarian or materialistic art practice is 
inherently a feminist art practice. A good 
number of women artists took part in this 
broad-based feminist activity, and it may be 
precisely because of their participation that the 
Russian avant-garde was able to move so 
quickly from a high art practice to the utilitarian 
modes of Productivism and Constructivism. 
Many Constructivist designs for housing, 
furniture, transport, etc. were never built due to 
lack of resources and materials, and Soviet 
industry did not welcome Constructivist artist- 
engineers. Nevertheless, those artists who 
addressed themselves to resolving the 
mundane problems of the home and workplace 
were the most likely to see their designs 
realized. Soviet art historian Ludmilla Vachtova 
argues that women artists were much more ; 
successful in implementing their aesthetic 
principles than were their less practical male j 
colleagues: "Logically, since a book, dress, or 
cup obviously appealed more directly to the 
next door comrade than a painting, almost all j 
women artists in Russia ventured into the field 

of the 'applied arts' and industrial design 

[They] never considered themselves to be 
heroines or the victims of a cruel fate, but were ' 
happy to assert with an unshakable grasp of -j 
the facts that they were only 'in the lines of the ,1 
workers at the art front.'" 12 Liubov Popova 
(1889-1924) and Varvara Stepanova 
(1894-1958) were instrumental in opening the -i 
First State Textile Print Factory in Moscow, 
where they designed clothing according to 
Constructivist principles — made from simple .1 
components, functional, versatile, easy to 
wear, easy to mass produce, hygienic, and 
undecorated except for essentials like pockets, 
seams, buttons, etc. The actual test of 
Constructivist principles was in whether or not j 
they appealed to the consumer. In a memoir ^ 
Popova recounts one of the happiest days of i 
her short life, the day women workers at a 1 
factory outlet store selected her clothing over u 
more traditional designs. Rather than the u: 
trivialization of women's "handwork," this 
meant success in Constructivist terms, an< 
marks the distance from the individualism ; 
the heart of the Western avant-garde. 



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Another difference between 
Russian art and Western art is 
apparent in the most casual walk 
through the Russian Museum 
in St. Petersburg — they do not 
share the same tradition of the 
nude. The trajectory that went from 
the Italian Renaissance's 
glorification of the male body as 
closest replica of its divine maker, 
'■' k ~'- to the predominant use of the 

female nude in the eighteenth century (all those 
^ancles horizontales in putatively mythical 
^situations that the French academy produced in 
such quantity), to the nineteenth-century wmm*^- 

equation of the female nude with the sexual IllPfell ' 

availability of the artists' model/prostitute, to ( "c " i 

the frequent use of the fragmented or ; "\X,r' ' 

dismembered nude female form in the canonical l'"^*'" '" ' 

^wpfeof modernism — this is not the history j| 

of Russian art. Even during the eighteenth . . jK 

ivanil Nineteenth centuries, when 
Russian art was most influenced by 
the French academy, there was great 
reservation when it came to depicting 
the nude body in general and the 
female body in particular. One /-■•Vl'S^W-' **s 

notable exception to this general ' •'■}/..;',' •%•' h'& 

tendency was the proliferation of ..;-? /." -:-'i.">^tt^g 

neoclassical nudes during the ! - 

periodofSocialistRealism.lt J§pBif5^ -&^f 

fs interesting to note that "^^ tflg 

aside from the sculptors ffifsf 

Sarra Lebedeva (1892-1967), who produced Ijjl 

a bust of the now infamous founder of the 11111 

KGB, Felix Dzerzhinsky, and Vera ^S^ 

Mukhina (1889-1963). most well 4'^^M 

known for her gigantic sculpture The. (i^X^R 

Laborer and Collects e Farmer 1 1937 1. ^illfllfe 

Socialist Realism is remarkable in the '\^^fe 

history of modern Russian art for the lack jBBBm 

of women artists. It may be that in its , .'?0Mii 

very representation of woman it precluded ' \%^^ 
■ their participation. Recently feminist art ■ . if*-"" 

historians have speculated that Western ' *:'■;' 

Women artists may have been deterred from '^P| 

• Participating in the Western avant-garde (££ 

•specifically because so much of the work is V$? 

modelled upon the distorted, debased, or v & 

otherwise fetishized bodies of women. " 

The European academy's obsession with the 
woe i functioned to deter Western women artists in 

histlril^' The ability t0 P aint the num a n figure in 
" ""'""' mythological, or religious subjects 




exercised control over this criterion of 
success as well as the means of 
achieving it. Young ladies were 
excluded from the life study 
classes out of a consideration for 
decorum. In Russia, on the other 
hand, the nude was not the sine 
qua non 

of artistic training; other genres, 
particularly landscape painting, 
were highly esteemed, as were 
the applied arts. Many artists were 
strong supporters of the Slavophile 
movement, which stressed Russian 
themes, particularly landscapes and 
genre scenes, and asserted their 
independence from the academy, 
which had always been identified 
with Western art, which 
at that time meant a 
stultifying neo- 
classicism. As 
early as 1840 
a series of 
administrative 
reforms 
gradually gave 
Russian 






historical. 

Braaually became institutionalized as 

^ fundamental criterion of artistic 

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women direct access to art education. In 1842 
the first art school for women opened — the 
Women's Section of the St. Petersburg Drawing 
School. This was quickly follow by Stieglitz 
School and the Stroganov School in Moscow. 13 
By 1870, women were admitted to the 
Academy of Arts. A collective painting by the 
students of llya Repin, depicting his life study 
classes, which he held from the late 1880s 
until he retired in 1907, shows male and 
female art students working together in 
the presence of a live nude model. By this time 
there was a growing population of women 
doctors, and the idea of women in anatomy 
classes was not so unusual. (In 1886 at 
the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, where 



TOP: 

EKaTepHHa XMKOBa 
Ekaterina Khikova, Women's 
Classes at the St. Petersburg 
Drawing School for Auditors, 1855. 
Russian Museum, St. Petersburg. 

BOTTOM: 

YMeHHKH H. PenHHa 

Collective painting, Model Study in 

the Studio of llya Repin at the 

Academy of Arts, 1899-1900. 

Research Museum of the Academy 

of Arts, St. Petersburg. 



women had customarily been given cows as 
models, Thomas Eakins was dismissed f 0l 
bringing a nude male model into a female 
life drawing class.) The hegemony of the St 
Petersburg Academy had been undermined 
long before Repin began to reform it. Numerou 
other organizations provided artistic training 
and exhibition possibilities. In 1882 seventy- 
three women painters in St. Petersburg 
formed their own association to support 
women artists. 14 

The earliness and relative ease with 
which women gained access to art education 
in Russia meant that the women who 
participated in the avant-garde were the second" 
or third generation of professionally trained 
artists. This becomes particularly important ,1 
when we realize that artistic training in the 
Soviet Union is frequently passed on from one 
generation to another like a craft or a trade. 
Vera Miturich-Khlebnikova (b.1954) speaks 
of her earliest artistic training as part of ( i 
family tradition: "At a huge desk of my father's, 
artist Mai Miturich, there was a special place 
for me. That's how I began to paint thirty years 
ago. That is also how my father himself began, 
when the table belonged to his father, Petr 
Miturich, an artist and inventor" (letter to the 
author, April 1989). Vera is the granddaughter 
of Petr Miturich and Vera Khlebnikova (sister 
of the Victor Khlebnikov) — all artists of the 1 
avant-garde. Irina Starzenyetskaya (b.1943) 
is the daughter of the well-known stage 
designer Tamara Starzenyetskaya (b.1912), 
For many years mother and daughter have 
done theatrical collaborations. The costumes 
and curtains Irina designed for her mother's 
sets have influenced her own landscape 
paintings, particularly in their capacity to convey 
deep recessional spaces. For several decades 
now Irina has been working both as a painter 
in a contemporary mode and with the icon 
painters' cooperative in the ancient church 
in the village of Tarusa, where she lives most 
of the year. In a conversation with the artist 
Dzemma Skulme (b.1925), head of the Artists' 
Union in Latvia, I learned that not only had her 
father and mother both been well-known artists 
but that her son and daughter were artists as 
well. When I remarked on how infrequently this 
occurs in the West and how common it is in 
the Soviet Union, she responded, with a 
matter-of-factness that reveals a world of 
difference, "Our passports call us workers, 
not geniuses." Clearly the cult of genius was \ 
undermined long ago. 



16 Heresies/idiomA 



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Woman as Sign in 

The Worldbackwards 

I have taken this quick run through the 
history of Russian art to examine the ways in 
which alternative somatic and social texts 
affect the ways in which women assume the 
roles of woman and of artist. Although 
•conditions have changed a great deal since 
the period of the avant-garde, some of these 
historical developments still exert considerable 
Influence upon contemporary conditions for 
both women artists and women in general. 
When I first went to the Soviet Union in 1981, 
j was struck by the fact that women are not 
"hailed," to use Althusser's term, by 
ubiquitous images of women on billboards, 
posters, cinema marquees, shop windows, 
and magazines. Images of women are not 
used as part of the continuous barrage of 
exhortation and entrapment that a capitalist 
society needs "to stimulate buying and 
anesthetize the injuries of class, race and sex" 
(Susan Sontag, On Photography). Moreover, 
I am conscious that women walking in the 
streets of Moscow are not looked at in the 
same way, are not the same confection of 
meanings as they would be on the streets of 
Paris, Rome, or New York. This consciousness 
of not being associated with objects of property 
made me feel more confident, more at liberty 
when in Moscow. However, when my husband 
came with me on a subsequent research trip 
fie complained the culture seemed de-erotized. 
Ironically, as I learned more about how Soviet 
women perceive their construction within the 
dominant representational systems, 



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TOP: 

ZI>KeMMa CKyjrbMe 

Dzemma Skulme, 

The Near and the Far, 1979. Photo 

courtesy of International Images, 

Sewickley, Penn. 

BOTTOM LEFT: 

HpiiHa Crap>KeHeLiKafl 

Irina Starzenyetskaya, 

Entrance to Jerusalem, egg tempera 

on wood, 55 x 40 cm., in situ in 

church in Tarusa. 

BOTTOM RIGHT: 
TaMapa CTap»ceHeuKaa 
Tamara Starzenyetskaya, 
set design for Queen of Spades. 



I discovered that his response was closer to 
theirs than was my own. 

Artist/critic Anna Alchuk has pointed out 
some of the images of heroic womanhood 
found in the Moscow metro. For example, in 
Baumanskaya station there is a female figure 
on a pedestal stepping out of a bay of red 
marble, wearing a wind-blown, quilted worker's 
jacket and girded with a holster and revolver. 
In one hand she holds a grenade, in the other a 
machine gun. All eight figures in this station, 
which was built in 1944, have the same 



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Heresies/idiomA 17 










aggressive stride, the same menacing look, 
and all of them are armed (even the 
"intellectual" brandishes sheets of paper). But 
none of them looks so fanatical, none is armed 
so thoroughly (a grenade, a machine gun, and a 
revolver) as the woman. In Avtozavodskaya 
station there is a fresco in which amidst 
several gray male figures a female silhouette 
stands out. Wearing a scarlet dress, this 
woman proudly pushes a huge handcart 
of coal. 15 

Woman is invariably depicted as the 
heroic worker — woman as tractor driver, 
construction worker, road worker, engineer, 
vegetable farmer. Coming from a culture in 
which the image of woman signifies sale and 
sexual titration, I found these images of 
active, strong women at work refreshing, but 
Soviet women, conscious of the violation 
inherent in so overdetermined an iconographic 
program, do not. They recognize in this 
stereotype of the all-capable and resilient 
woman a strategy to colonize a work force. 
The appropriation of the female body that in 
Western culture facilitated the construction of 
difference, there contributed to the notion of 
the ideal collective body, which is sexless. 
Paradoxically, both representational systems 



TOP: 

Hpa 3aTyjioBCKaa 

Irina Zatulovskaya, Woman 

Reading, oil on scrap metal, 1991. 



OPPOSITE: 

Shaping — It's the Style of Life for 
the Contemporary Woman. Billboard 
in St. Petersburg, 1991. Photo: 
Susan Unterberg. 



serve to control women's sexuality and to 
guarantee manageability in the workplai ■-■ 

This is a nation in which 92 percent of 
the women are fully employed and comprise 
51 percent of the work force. Here the Equal 
Rights Amendment has been in effect since 
1917. Women do not have to go to court to 
assert their right to jobs such as fire fighter o r 
garbage collector, as they have done in the 
U.S., and women are well represented in such 
professions as medicine and engineering. AN 
of this seems progressive to us, but what we 
want the right to do, they want the right not to 
do. "Emancipation is dreadful," says Ira 
Zatulovskaya (b.1954). "I am a victim of 
emancipation. So are all women here. I've tried 
my heart out to understand you Western 
women, but obviously I just can't. In the Soviet 
Union it is us women who are obliged to ilo 
everything." 16 Natalya Turnova (b.1957) 
explains that it is particularly hard to be a 
woman artist "because most men think that art ->■ 
is secondary for a woman. Even in families 
where both husband and wife are artists, what 
time a woman has left for art is what's left after- 1 
cooking, laundry, cleaning, standing in lines, 
etc. Even if a woman manages to find time for 
art, she faces the problem of getting supplies 
and transportation of works. Since you are 
equal to men and got into this of your own free -: 
will, nobody will help you just because you are a 
woman, though physical strength is not equal J 
at all. Besides, in our country you can get ,| 
something only if you have certain business 
connections and personal contacts. It is 
impossible to obtain anything legally, like a 
studio, for example. Women are not 
considered business people; thus, most men 
with influence prefer not to deal with them, 
of these things are ridiculous from the poin 
view of Art (with a capital A), but these thir 
take a tremendous amount of time, energy 
money. And if, after all this, a woman still I 
the desire to paint pictures, they have to lo 
as easy and as natural as those painted by 
man" (letter to the author, Oct. 1989). 

The word that comes up most frequei 
in conversations with women is 
peregruzhennost, "overburdening." The myth 
of the strong woman, the amazon, is a my 
that has recurred in different forms througl 
Russian history when agrarian, economic, < 
military considerations have made excessiv 
demands on the contributions of women. < 
woman wrote in a recent issue of Moscow 
News, "Yes, a woman can do everything, t 
she just doesn't want to anymore," and 
proceeded to compare Soviet women's 
emancipation within the labor force to "Atl< 
putting all their load on the shoulders of 



18 Heresies/idiomA 



rvatids." 17 Although it is demonstrable that 
<fviet women assume more than their share of 
burden of labor, the actual power exercised 
most Soviet women is severely constrained 
t a certain familial and ideological zone. 

Recently in St. Petersburg I came upon a 
billboard in which a bikini-clad woman 
assuming a standard pin-up pose was 
juxtaposed with an image of a computer. At 
first I misread the relationship between the two 
'images, thinking the pin-up girl was the visual 
gambit to call attention to the computer, but 
the caption read, "Shaping — It Is the Style of 
.-Life/for the Contemporary Woman." This was a 
Self-improvement poster addressed to women. 
AltHpugh tne ro | e of the computer was unclear, 
it could simply have been the signifier of all 
that was progressive, like the tractor in Soviet 
posters of the thirties. Now the emphasis was 
"tin the appearance of the woman, not on her 
iwojk potential. In very real terms, however, this 
Sbillrjoard was no less about women and work 
i'thjan were the Socialist Realist posters. As job 
Opportunities arise in the emerging 
entrepreneurial sector and in Western 
businesses, the call is for young, attractive 
women to occupy predominantly low-paying, 



decorative jobs in the service "industry." 18 As 
the free market brings unemployment in its 
wake, the education, training, and professional 
skills of women will likely be sacrificed first — 
at the moment of writing, 80 percent of the 
unemployed are women. The subliminal 
message of this billboard aimed at women is, 
"Either make yourself look like this, or you'll be 
out of a job." 

Nonetheless, billboards of pin-up girls 
are still a rarity, even in the streets of St. 
Petersburg, which has always been the most 
Western-identified of the Soviet cities. While 
Western ads and movies are bringing with them 
increasingly explicit representations of the 
female body, pornography is not yet part of the 
everyday sexism of this culture. Ironically, the 
historical period in which Russian art drew 
most heavily upon the Western tradition of the 
nude was the period of Socialist Realism. A 
1991 exhibition of Socialist Realist art at the 
New Tretyakov Gallery displayed more nudity in 
one room than can be found throughout the 
entire collection of Russian art in the Russian 
Museum. Although Andrei Zhdanov, as 
minister of culture under Stalin, led campaigns 
against the representation of sexuality, images 




Heresies/idiomA 19 



of nude women were nonetheless officially 
encouraged. Under a seemingly perverse 
strategy, desire was aroused in order to be 
appropriated. As in Germany under National 
Socialism, there were many images of female 
fecundity; bare-breasted harvesters or nursing 
mothers were very popular, as were nude 
female athletes or bathing scenes that allowed 
the artist to depict the nude in numerous 
postures. Deineka's Football, for example, 
depicts three nude women chasing a ball. The 
title provides the same pseudo-rationale for 
viewing these women from various vantage 
points as the theme of the judgement of Paris 
did for the painters of the French Academy. 
Alexsandr Samokhvalov's After Running ( 1934) 
is a classic of this genre. It depicts a female 
athlete drying her moist, seminude body; her 
panties are pulled down to reveal a little of her 
pubic hair. The obsession with the healthy 
athletic body as a form of sexual sublimation 
during the Stalinist period is remarkably similar 
to the mechanisms of libidinal alignment used 



"Ironically, the 

historical period 

in which Russian art 

drew most heavily 

upon the Western 

tradition of the nude 

was the period of 

Socialist Realism." 



on us today — twenty pounds lighter, and th- 
girl could be in an ad for Evian water.' 



The Persona! as the Political 

For the most part, the Soviet art I saw ■ 
the 1980s was made for private reasons and" 1 
was seen only by a small group of friends 
Exhibition space was difficult to come by and 
had to be arranged through the Artists' Union 
an organization that didn't seem to bestir itself 
too often even on behalf of artists who were ' 
members. Most of the artists I met were not 
members. When I first started visiting artists'- . 
studios I found a small and, at least in my .-.'; 
experience of visiting women artists, very 
generous artists' community, one that was 
tightly knit and highly supportive. One artist 
would invariably take me to see the work of 
another. While the work suffered from lack of - 
materials and lack of critical attention, the fact' 
that these women were working in relative ' 



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20 Heresies/idiomA 



1 urity had its advantages. As one artist put 
^'No one sees this work, so it can be totally 
—'■''■'"On the other hand, the constraints 
f f e 'ed upon official artists manifested 
p f ^selves in various ways. During the 1970s, 

riod of relative liberalization, a number of 
a o men art ists were admitted to the Artists' 
Toh'Tatyana Nazarenko, Natalia Nesterova, 
rNasipova, Olga Bulgakova, M. Tabaka, and 

' y jnt are among the most well known. No one 
declined an offer to join the Artists' Union; the 
benefits (salary, studio, and art supplies) were 
too great. The price paid for this acceptance 
was that the artist was to some degree 
expected to work in the service of the state. 
Responses ranged from identification with the 
institution, to small, sanity-preserving 
subversions. 

Tatyana Nazarenko (b.1944) is a 
figurative painter who was admitted into the 
Artists' Union in 1969 and in 1972 was 
awarded the Komsomol prize. Like other 
members of the Artists' Union, she was sent 
on field trips to study the life of Soviet people. 



OPPOSITE LEFT: 

AjiexcaH/ip CaMoxBa/ioB 

Aleksandr Samokhvalov, 

After Running, 1934. 

Russian Museum, St. Petersburg. 

Photo: Susan Unterberg 

OPPOSITE RIGHT: 
TaTbsiHa Ha3apeHKO 
Tatyana Nazarenko, 
Circus Girl, o/c, 1984. 

BOTTOM: 

TaTbflHa Ha3apeHkO 

Tatyana Nazarenko, 

Women Construction Workers at the 

Moldavin Hydro Power Station, o/c, 

100x80 cm., 1974. Photo courtesy 

of Norton Dodge. 



Her painting of the women construction workers 
of the Moldavin Hydro Power Station was a 
typical assignment, yet it shows that interesting 
work can be produced within the confines of 
the requirements of Socialist Realism. Like 
Leger's merging of men and machines, the 
tubular structure of the huge pipes is echoed in 
the dwarfed bodies of the women who climb 
amongst the pipes, patting on insulation by 
hand. Many of Nazarenko's works, particularly 
the large-scale historical paintings, can be 
found in the Tretyakov. In her studio, however, 
one can find traces of Nazarenko's resistance 
to her "success." Circus Girl (1984) is a 
portrait of herself dressed in a bikini doing a 
precarious high-wire act. Below her the officials 
of the Artists' Union politely applaud her act, 
which is all the more remarkable because she 
is working without even a wire. On her return 
from a recent trip to the United States, she 
painted a record of her experiences. Her body 
is served up in a large chafing dish while a 
strange assortment of exotic creatures, part 
animal, part bird, part man, stare down upon 




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Heresies/idiomA 21 



her. A man with the head of a pig and 
prehensile teeth leers at her while another 
man, metamorphosing into an as yet 
indeterminate animal, starts to carve the dish 
with his fork. Nazarenko's private and comic 
resistance to the various molds she was being 
fitted into is typical of the responses of the 
women artists who were accepted into the 
Artists' Union during the 1970s. 

Some of the more recent work, 
particularly that done by the younger women 
artists, is overtly political, critical, and 
controversial. Natalya Turnova (b.1957) 



TOP: 

HaTa/ibSi TypHOBa 

Natalya Turnova, Portraits of Civil 

War Heros and Contemporary 

Leaders, oil on cardboard, 1990. 

Installation, Minsk. 

BOTTOM: 
E_neHa Kejuiep 
Elena Keller, Runes, o/c, 
200x150 cm. 







^Sss 




painted large-scale, brightly colored cartoo -< 
caricatures of the icons of the Afghanistan 
— the soldiers and sailors and the legitim-,"* 
slogans and banners under which they 
marched. Seen together, everything seems ■ 
partake of the innocence and gaiety of a g- 
for small boys. The slogans are fragmented * 
abstracted almost to the point of 
unintelligibility, yet enough remains of 
questions such as "Who Sold Us to 
Afghanistan?" or the familiar Stalinist slog 
"Who Is With Me?" and "The Party Decide* 
Everything" to cause them to be censored' 
a group exhibition at the Palace of Youth in - - 
1988. In 1989 Turnova began a series of 
rather irreverent portraits of then famous, Il0 . 
infamous, public figures. This work takes ci -' 
prophetic dimension in the context of the 
statue smashing and the proliferation ol 
posters and cartoons attacking public figur 
that took place after the failed coup of August 
1991. In her most recent work large-scale 
portraits are cut out and installed as free- 
standing sculptures throughout the gallery 
that viewers can walk around them, get a 
sense of their flatness, even have their own 
photos taken alongside them. It is interesting 
to compare Tumova's portraits of Ryazhsky, 
Voroshilov, Ordzjonikize, Lenin, and Gorbachev • 
with Leon Golub's portraits of powerful me 
Kissinger, Rockefeller, Arafat, and so on. In .;' 
both cases, the homogeneity of treatment 
causes the men to become almost anonymous,*; 
almost interchangeable. In both series 
masculinity is explored as masquerade, and 
power itself is revealed as a put-on. Tumova's ' 
portraits, however, seem more provocative; in 
part this is a result of reducing these public 
icons to comic caricatures and in part a result 
of the context — Soviet citzens, at least u 
1991, were not used to seeing their public 
figures "sent up" in this way. What is most 
disturbing about Tumova's portraits is thai 
are given smiles and made to look a little 
jaunty, almost what in America would be called 
fun loving. The effect is truly sinister. 

While the political content of Turnove 
work is banner bold, the messages in thi 
paintings of Elena Keller (b.1951) are coded 
and arcane, .more like the half-intelligible traces 
of a prisoner furtively trying to communical' 
with the outside world. Seemingly abstracl 
paintings reveal themselves to be political 
allegories. A random splattering of red against 
a yellow background becomes, on closer 
examination, a map of the Soviet Union; in tM '.- 
center a stick figure lies in a grid, or is it caugn. 
in a trap? Is this a reference to the internmeft- 
camps located throughout the Soviet Union, or- 
is the Soviet Union understood to be one larg "> 



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■?:■:■■ n ? Both map and trapped human figure 
^repeated in another painting called Great 
af£ ' ctations (1988); this time golden bars rain 
Si upon the.figure — a reference to Danae 

d the shower of gold, or a hope for some 
an iritua l mfusion from above, or are these 
Golden bars merely hard currency coming in 
I m the West? Readings are double, multiple, 
Id contradictory. Often words or letters 

^connect with iconic signs. To the 
Oecembrists, Your Affectionate Brother is a 
series of red and blue markings that can 
eventually be read as AKATUI, the initials of the 
Decembrists. 19 /* Letter (1987) is a pictograph, 
the addressee and message unclear. At times 
ttie iconography is so personal, so solipsistic, it 
precludes any conversation with the outside 
world. What is clear is an almost inchoate 
desire to make a mark, to leave a trace, to let 
someone, anyone, know you exist. Keller is 
writing in the universal morphology of the 
human condition; the text is subject to 
repeated misreadings. In Runes (1990) the 
hieroglyphic markings on one side of the 
canvas are as unintelligible as the markings on 
the other side, which may or may not be human 
figures; what we see may be only be our desire 
to see something formed in our image, or our 
desire to decipher, to find or impose meaning. 
In Constellations (1987) an intertwined couple 
maybe locked either in an embrace or in 
combat. Like the game of cat's cradle, the 
viewer can see either a cat or a cradle as the 
hands manipulate the strings. In a painting 
done in 1988 one can discern the epigraph to 

■RurtVonnegut's book Cat's Cradle — 
"Give me the strength to change what I can, 
the grace to leave alone what I can't, and 
the sense to know the difference" — 
which would serve well as the epigraph for 
Keller's own work. 

-^ ' Much of the work I saw during my first 
visits was heavily imbedded in a conversation 

.thatSoviet people were just beginning to have 
Wrth foreigners. This is a country in which many 
People are absent: they died in the war, they 

.<H?dinthe Purges, they died during the 
collectivization, they were sent to prison 

MQ^ theyemigrated - Svetlana Bogatir 
Z™45) Paints translucent silhouettes of 
■Jjoplu moving somnambulantly along city 

Thef S 9nd recedin § int0 the vanishing point. 
- se are mute tracings of those who have 

a presence, not 



^ppe ar e d yet seem to have 



ust in 



People': 



thaw- ' J s memor ies but in the streets, 
MrtldinlJ 1 Stairwavs ' an d the thick walls of the 
r-ciVsT WhSre sometnin g of their Physical 

^e rr- S t0 '' nger - "' feel that in this room 
did a .J e . been man Y People here before me 
} I am gone there will be others. We 



TOP: 

CBenrnaHa BoraTiip 

Svetlana Bogatir, Walking People, 

o/c, 97x116 cm., 1987. 

BOTTOM: 

E/ieHa Kejuiep 

Elena Keller, Constellations, o/c, 

1987. 



meet now by chance. We live in the space of 
people with whom we have associated. You 
know and I know that it was not possible to 
speak about these things. Each of us is just 
minutes in transit, only moments in light. 
Everything is fragile and transparent — so now 
I don't paint people, only places for people in 
light" (conversation with the author, Moscow, 
July 1988). 

A good deal of the work, especially that 
done by women artists, seems to be engaged 







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Heresies/idiomA 23 



in an investigation of the representation of the 
self. Unlike many Western women artists, they 
are not seeking to deconstruct the images of 
woman that have been mass-produced by 
advertising. Instead, many Soviet women 
artists seem to be engaged in a private, almost 
obsessive recording of the self. For example, 
the bulk of the more than forty years' work of 
Clara Golitsina (b.1925) are self-portraits. In 
part this is a result of expediency — the artist 
is always available as model. It is also the 
result of circumstances. Other paintings have 
been sold or given to friends; those that remain 
in the artist's small apartment are the the ones 
done for herself. When seen together these 
self-portraits, tracing the narrative of a life in 
almost novelistic terms, provide a record rarely 
available to us in paint. They begin with the 
self-portraits of the artist in young womanhood, 
in which she seems to be trying to see herself 
as others see her. If it were not for the 
steadfast stare of the young woman, these 
works could be impressionist paintings of a 
pretty young woman in a sun hat. The gaze, 
directed at the viewer, will be a constant 
throughout the years. In later paintings she 
becomes more purposeful, more direct; the 
woman now addresses the viewer more 
confidently. Her hair is cut short, the clothes 



LEFT: 

Kjiapa fojiHUbiHa 
Clara Golitsina, 
SelfPortrait, o/c, 1965. 

RIGHT: 

Kjiapa TojiHUbiHa 
Clara Golitsina, 
Self-Portrait, o/c, 1982. 




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are simpler, the hat more functional than 
stylish. The viewer is not provided with 
distractions; the face fills the picture fram 
There is no longer any question; these are' 
portraits. Although the recording of time im^ 
the face progresses with unflattering object" - 1 
these are not portraits of someone obsessed 
with aging but with the process of painting 
As viewers of Golitsina's portraits, we are' 
caught up in this obsession. Like readers of 
a narrative, we feel obliged to try to read from 
the repeated physiognomy some meaning, to 
seek the meaning of another's life, to come to 
some closure. The portraits do not suggest 
varying emotions, with one exception — a 
series of expressionistic, haunting works done 
in the 1980s after the death of her husband ■ 
Afterward there is a hiatus. The last self-portrait: 
I saw was done in 1988; the gaze is now -- 
directed towards a book in the artist's hand 
the hat has a colorful bow, a bird sits on her 
shoulder (a bird the artist found injured on her 
balcony that has stayed on as a pet). The face 
is of indeterminate age; were it not for the date 
on the back, this self-portrait could easily be 
confused with those of earlier, happier days. 
Elena Figurina (b.1955) also seems to 
be engaged in an extended self-analysis. Like 
Golitsina, Figurina received no formal artistic 



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24 Heresies/idiomA 



an; 



. ■ a- until recently she worked as an aircraft 
^'"'eer. Rgurina began painting in 1980 with 

f$^ es of portraits, some of friends, one of 
-^Qogh, and several self-portraits. These 

■^Hv self portraits were crude expressionist 
*tL the features highly stylized and 

•■rwrted, executed with broad, simple strokes. 
rife colors, reduced to a primary palette with 
ed and yellow predominating, are used 
'rbttrarlly. and green blotches, reminiscent 
3 fMatiss'e's fauve period, appear on the face. 
Lurina's explorations of the self expand to 
include family groupings of the artist with her 
mother, father, and sister. All distinguishing 
features are minimized, and all members of 
me family come to look alike. In later works 
this family resemblance is extended. Groups 
of people all resembling one another, yet all 
resembling the artist, are engaged in activities 
such as walking, picking apples, standing in 
fields with cows, catching birds, cleaning fish, 
dancing, playing in the sand, or just standing, 
either engrossed in quiet contemplation or 
looking out at us. In a painting called Masks 
(1989) four figures, carrying bright yellow 
masks, are as devoid of distinguishing features 
as the masks. Like characters in folk tales, 
they Interact with animals, who in turn take on 
human characteristics, looking inquisitively or 
balefully at the humans painted in the same 
primary colors. People and animals carry out 
their activities in the bright, indefinite, and 
timeless background of Matisse's dancers, and 
like Matisse's figures, their physical bodies are 
extended or distorted in such a way as to 
harmonize with their activity or to convey 
emotion. Stylistically, Figurina's work is closely 
associated with Russian primitivism and the 
fplk.art revived by artists such as Goncharova, 
Ufjbnov, and Malevich at the turn of the 

.pentury. Her figures are engaged in the same 

J?SJ5S and are as simplified and 
fiohindividuated as Goncharova's peasants. 

'RgUrina's paintings, however, are not a 
celebration of peasant life; they are engaged in 
the exploration of subjectivity or the 
contemplation of something external to the 

Siw ' n Wh ' Ch they find themselves ' and tne y 
^ this with the indefinite determination of 
cnaracters in a Beckett play. 

Vera Miturich-Khlebnikova has been 
-goring family memorabilia in her recent work, 
ner family were all prominent members of 
jroup of Russian Futurists, their personal 
'fccord T^ documents P rovi de a fascinating 
tiailvlif ° ' mpact of P° litical changes upon 
JWeh -J ° ne C °" age contains Ve ra 
detest ' S (1891 ~ 1941 ) record book with 

ff) Which reSU ' tS ° f her rifle shootin g< an activity 
*•.••. eve ry good Soviet citizen was expected 




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Elena Rgurina, The Red Fish, o/c, 

122x97 cm., 1987. 



to excel. In a series of silk-screen prints made 
of Victor Khlebnikov's correspondence with the 
Artists' Union, one can discern the fate of the 
avant-garde: receipts for art supplies, invoices 
for commissions, and finally the unemployment 
card issued to him by the Artists' Union in 
1927, the official way of informing artists their 
services were no longer required. 



Heresies/idiomA 25 











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26 Heresies/idiomA 



there are no nymphets 
l„ polar regions. 

— Nabokov 

Historically, Soviet artists have been very 
tlcent in the exploration of erotica or sexually 
explicit imagery. Not only nudity but also even 
exually suggestive material had been 
forbidden to artists in several directives issued 
bvthe ministry of culture during the Stalinist 
era Obviously the ban acted as a deterrent, 
although as early as 1968 hJonna Gronova and 
her husband Francisco Infante staged an 
outdoor performance in the snow in which 
Nonna posed in the nude while candles melted 
the snow castle built around her. Though using 
her own nude body was a transgressive act, 
Gronova was not exploring sexuality in her 
performance. While it is impossible to 
generalize about an entire country, it is fair to 
say that Soviet culture has not regarded 
sexuality as the locus of subjectivity. It is not 
so much that the majority embraced Lenin's 
famous "glass of water" theory of sex, but 
rather that they have not been conditioned by 
advertising's eroticization of everyday objects to 



TOP LEFT: Bepa XjieGm-iKOBa 
Vera Khlebnikova, illustration tor 
libretto Thoughts on Opanas After 
the Poem by Edward Bagritsky, 
w/c. 22x16 cm., 1935. Pushkin 
State Museum of Fine Art. 

TOP RIGHT: 

Bepa MnTypn<-i-Xjie6HHKOBa 

Vera Miturich-Khlebnikova, 

collage containing Vera 

Khlebnikova's rifle shooting test 

scores, 1991. Photo: Susan 

Unterberg. 

BOTTOM LEFT: 

Bepa XjieSm-iKOBa 

Vera Khlebnikova, cover for 

libretto Thoughts on Opanas After 

the Poem by Edward Bagritsky, 

w/c, 22x16 cm., 1935. Pushkin 

State Museum of Fine Art. 

BOTTOM RIGHT: 
Bepa MiiTypHM-X.ne6HHKOBa 
Vera Miturich-Khlebnikova, 
collage containing Victor 
Khlebnikov's 1925 invoice from 
Artist's Union, 1991. Photo: 
Susan Unterberg. 

BOTTOM: Ilonna TpoHOBa 
Nonna Gronova, Forest Ritual, 
performance, 1968. Photo 
courtesy of Margarita Tupitsyn. 



conceptualize their subject relations in these 
terms — i.e., to believe that sex is the key to 
their individuality, the sole means of expressing 
their most intimate selves or understanding the 
subjectivity of another. Today, however, in the 
logic of derepression, which always considers 
the most censored to be the most significant, 
many artists are exploring this particular taboo. 
The representation of something called sex, in 
this context, is part of a process of emergence. 
The thriving gay and lesbian community in St. 
Petersburg, many of whom are artists, have 
effectively used eroticaliy charged material in 
art exhibitions and performances to announce 
their existence, to counter stultifying 
assumptions of normalcy, to celebrate the 
body, and to articulate an already constituted 
but previously repressed set of behaviors and 
desires. Eroticism is explored as a locus of 
subjectivity, a venue by which the self may be 
liberated from its previous incarceration in the 
de-eroticized communal body constructed within 
Soviet ideology. 



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Heresies/idiomA 27 



he was an hermaphrodite. In a culture 
intolerant of even small deviations from the 
norm, this was cause for an enormous 
scandal, especially as Vadim's mother was a 
prominent party member. Bella Matveeva 
(b.1961) also explores androgyny and 
homoerotica in her paintings of highly stylized, 
Egyptian-looking nudes in which the male and 
female models seem to blend into one sex. 
Installations of Matveeva's paintings 
sometimes include the living nudes who 
modelled for them. Her paintings seem 
uncomplicated offerings of visual pleasure in 
which threatening knowledge is allayed by the 
beauty of the images, but the presence of the 
actual people used in creating the work 
disturbs the viewer's passive identification with 
the illusion of art. Matveeva's Brechtian 
strategy of "distanciation" or "defamiliarization" 
undermines the subject positions of 
speculation and in doing so, disturbs what 
Stephen Heath calls the "safety of disavowal" 
to reveal how these fixed positions of 
separation-representation-speculation are 
classically fetishistic: "Think in this respect of 




BeJiJia MaTBeeBa 

Bella Matveeva, model with work, 

1990. Photo: Victoria Buyvid. 



the photograph, which seems to sustain ex 
this fetishistic structure. The photograph ni °^ : 
the subject in a relation of specularity — + n ° es 
glance, holding him pleasurably in the safetv 
disavowal; at once knowledge — this exists 
and a perspective of reassurance — but I a ~" 
outside this existence ... the duality rising t 
the fetishistic category par excellence, that of 
the beautiful." 20 

A number of recent exhibitions in both 
Moscow and St. Petersburg have attempted to 
address issues of representation and the 
construction of gender. The curatorial team of 
Olesya Turkina and Victor Mazin have organized 1 
three such exhibitions. The first, called Women 
in Art (1989), was a retrospective, with 
sections dedicated to female students of 
Malevich and Filonov as well as to work from 
the sixties and seventies, a liberal period in 
which many women artists were admitted into 
the Artists' Union. The second and third 
exhibitions focused on contemporary art. 
Influenced by their readings of the new French 
feminists, these curators attempted to address^ 
such issues as art as text, the gender 
assumptions surrounding textile art, fetishism 



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theoretical impetus for these exhibitions 
the West, and as the participants 



r ame from " 
mselves note, it is not easy to organize an 

hibition about feminist issues in a country 

6 Lre feminism is simply absent as a social or 

philosophical movement. 



Cultural 

In her recent work Irina Nakhova (b.1955) 
.gg been exploring the construction of gender 
as a by-product of all cultural production. For 
several years Nakhova has been examining the 
interstices between process and completion, 
'between fragmentation and wholeness, 
"between the extant and the ruined, between 
renewal and decay. This began with a series of 
paintings called Scaffoldings, in which the 
Mils was on the scaffolding itself, the process 
of restoration, not on what was being restored 
— a natural response to a culture caught up in 
perestroika. After her visit to Italy she began 
exploring the ruins of classical antiquity. The 



Be/iiia MaTBeeBa 

Bella Matveeva, diptych, o/c. 



perfect beauty of classical art with all its 
images of the finished, completed man, 
cleansed of all scoriae of birth and 
development, outwardly monolithic, is re- 
presented by Nakhova as inwardly riven. In her 
work the classical body is subject to aging and 
decay just like the material body. In this re- 
presentation of classical art Nakhova seems to 
have discovered, almost as if by accident, the 
gender assumptions upon which it is based. In 
her latest works she paints pairs of male and 
female faces or torsos from antiquity. As 
classical statuary they show the effects of time 
upon them in chips and broken limbs, and as 
material beings, in sagging and wrinkles. All 
the pairs are cracked; in one set the cracks 
appear in a random pattern suggesting age or 
accident, in another the cracks appear along 
the lines of a perfectly symmetrical grid. The 
cracks are identical so that the viewer can 
exchange the pieces like a jigsaw puzzle, and in 
doing so, the dichotomies between the material 
body, with its close association to the maternal 
body, and the classical body, with its claims to 
completion and perfection, become as 
apparent as the differences between the male 







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Heresies/idiom A 29 





and female bodies to which these dichotomies 
are inextricability associated. 

Maria Konstantinova (b.1955) also 
reveals some of the gender assumptions of 
high art by turning painting into "women's 
work" — making a pillow of Malevich's 
Suprematist Black Square. To underscore the 
inversions of identities she signed this piece 
with both her own and Kasimir Malevich's 
initials: M.K.K.M. In a prophetic work of 1989 
Konstantinova made a large cushion of a red 
star, propped it against the wall in such a way 
that it assumed humanoid features (somewhat 
like a drunk sprawled against a wall). Draped 
across its chest is a funereal banner that reads 
"Rest in Peace." 



The icon of Our Times 

It is only over there they think that living 
means you have to eat. 

— Dmitry Prigov 

As the old order of art production, 
distribution, exhibition, and critical reception 
collapses, those with the requisite energy, 
commitment, and enthusiasm are finding that 
for the first time their projects can be realized. 
Ironically, the closest historical comparison is 
to the activities of the avant-garde just after the 
Revolution. When Lunacharsky came to Lenin 
for funds to support the avant-garde, Lenin 
replied that in such difficult times, artists would 

30 Heresies/idiomA 



TOP: 

MapHH KOHCTaHTHHOBa 

Maria Konstantinova, 
M.K.K.M. (Maria 
Konstantinova/Kasimir 
Malevich), m/m, 101x40x17 
cm., 1990. Photo courtesy of 
Phyllis Kind Gallery. 

BOTTOM: HpHHa HaxoBa 
Irina Nakhova, untitled, 
diptych, o/c, 102x76 cm. each 
panel, 1991. Photo courtesy 
of Phyllis Kind Gallery. 



have to live on the energy produced by th ■ ' 
own enthusiasm. Today, as in 1918 ' f 
enthusiasm seems to be very rich fare 
Currently there are almost no government 
to support artistic activity, yet paints, pape!^ 5 

and building materials are gathered, exhibit' 
sites are rehabilitated, and volunteer labo ■°° 
abundance. As a result, this is a time rich ^^ 
creative exhibitions and publications. Maki 
joke of their straitened circumstances and f ' 
the anxiety over food shortages, two artists 
on an exhibition at the Marat Guelman galle 
that included a huge table loaded with fruit 
bread, and sausages they had transported from 
Odessa; at the opening the audience was 
invited to feast at the groaning board. As 
official art institutions flounder, independent - 
curators and critics have been quick to take ' 
advantage of the opportunities chaos has 
created. At the Dom Khudozhnika, or " ■ 
House, in the New Tretyakov, Yelena Selina ■ 
and Yelena Romanova were able to organize an 
exhibition of contemporary art unlike most 
previous exhibitions sponsored by that 
institution in that it was political, provocative 




,\i I times very witty. The recurring motif in a 

*** Z w orks was food. 
^ Lena Eiagina (b.1949) raised the 
:■ : :' : Veto its appropriate place in the Russian 
^|2ve consciousness — to the level of The 
f Our Times. The price and availability of 
^"item is a daily topic of conversation, 
!t " 5 sed regularly on the radio and television 
* 5C fjtwere one of the leading economic 
tLtnrq Elagina's sausages made of wood 
e strung together and draped like rosary 
* ds over a wooden cross. Where traditionally 
!f would find scenes from the stations of the 
\L one finds instead back-lit illustrations 
taken from a book distributed to food service 
employees during the fifties. The book is a 
safety manual instructing people on the proper 
procedure for the handling and cleaning of huge 
food-processing equipment. There is an implied 
threat to the dwarfed humans working with this 
equipment and consequently something 
suspect about the content of the sausages. In 
an earlier work Eiagina constructed a rebus of 
the' word prekmsnoye, meaning "sublime" or 



MapHH KOHCTaHTHHOBa 

Maria Konstantinova, Rest in 
Peace, m/m installation, 
152x152x102 cm., 1989. 
Photo courtesy of Phyllis Kind 
Gallery. 




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"beautiful" as well as "red." Hence, Red 
Square is not called red in reference to its color 
or its association with the Bolsheviks but 
because it is beautiful. On the top of this 
sublimely beautiful red square Eiagina has 
placed two red enamel cooking pots. 

Olga Chernysheva's (b.1962) work also 
focuses on intersections between linguistics 
and the culinary arts. Using the recipes from 
The Book of Wholesome Food, a cookbook 
found in every household during the Stalinist 
era, she creates sometimes literal versions of 
the complex confections every good Communist 
woman was expected to be able to bake. 
Gessoed canvases coated with what look like 
layers of cream become sculptural realizations 
of such old masters as Cake Napoleon or 
Baiser Rodin. Using a star-shaped pastry cutter 
(a favorite motif in this cookbook) she makes 
Soviet pot pies. Along with these sculptural 
realizations of what was always a Utopian art 
form because the ingredients for these 
elaborate dishes were never available, 
Chemysheva repaints illustrations from the 
cookbook — oddly reified and cropped photos 
of women's hands and midriffs. These 
fragmented body parts shift in connotation from 
the clinical, as the hands work with strangely 
complex equipment, to the erotic, as they 
knead and shape bread dough into breast and 
vulva formations. 

The work of husband-and-wife team 
Ludmila Skripkina (b.1965) and Oleg Petrenko 
(b.1964), known as The Peppers, is deeply 
immersed in the banality of byt. The mounds of 
potatoes, pots of peas, and jars of pork 



Heresies/idiomA 31 




illft 



32 Heresies/idiomA 




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he lm the life they are intended to sustain. 

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ll vu r 

ThP walls were covered with a series of 
(oorn. me wo. 



l99l installation of their work at the 
aid peldman gallery in New York, eight 
%red pounds of potatoes filled one small 



'■■■-'-"""ritings devoted entirely to potatoes; 

' -froes like faces in a crowd ' recede into the 
Mrfeon, crowding out everything else. Eruptions 
Tpeas'flow out of canvases, pots, aprons, 

■• !^n bones and breasts. But the abundance 

ggests only boredom and repetition, not 
Stude. The obsessional nature of the 

'2ivity° f g athering and P reservir) g tne f00d 
- destroys the idea of enjoyment in eating, just 
, - a || se nse of pleasure is absent from the 
-diarts and graphs documenting such things as 
•the number of hours people spend engaged in 
. ^at would be considered pleasurable activity: 
• reading, listening to music, going to a museum 
or the circus or a movie or a concert. As 
Skipkina explains, "They were studies made of 
workers in the Severski Factory in Sverdlovsky, 
atown I grew up in. It is an industrial town that 
= Is located at the midpoint in the Soviet Union 
between Asia and Europe. It is thought of as 
■ average or medium point. They were studies 
.- (tone to increase productivity. If a worker went 
" to a'concert, did it increase his productivity? If 
music was played in the workplace, did that 
Increase productivity? Reason controls 
:. pleasure. This is not science, but 
pseudoscientific communism" (interview with 
tlje author, Sept. 1991). The charts are comic 
in their ludicrous ineffectuality and depressing 
-if one thinks of the amount of time wasted in 
compiling them. Another piece involves a book 
about the production and distribution of 
.electricity, embedded in an accordion. "The 
accprdion is a comic folk instrument," Petrenko 
explains. "Playing it causes the book to wheeze 
mr-er-er back and forth with the old saw of 
productivity under socialism." 

Every so often in the midst of these 
compilations and charts written in various 
agisters of language, one encounters a 
.Sinister note. Diagrams documenting the 
.Breakdown of movement coordination, 
waetory, and other essential faculties in a dog, 
caused by the removal of various parts of his 
Weoellum, suggests the enormous amount of 
. *nage done in the name of science. By far 
Wn m . ostsinis ter are those studies done on the 
productive function of women. Petrenko 



d| scount: 



I any feminist agenda to their work. 



■"anyVVeste 

Pf2em that We are addressin 2 women's 



m critics make the mistake of 



Stfecolo, 



|;When we deal with abortion 



es and use these charts of women's 
f'pal diseases, such as ir 



'leukorrh~ -■^" oc; =, wii as in our Types of 
, - - mea According to Madelshtam, but we 



* 

■Hi 

WBKSSm 




TOP: 

Ojibra MepHbiuieBa 

Olga Chernysheva, o/c,1991. 

BOTTOM: 

Ojibra MepHbimeBa 

Olga Chernysheva, o/c, 

1991. 



OPPOSITE PAGE: 
TOP LEFT: EJieHa EnaraHa 
Yelena Elagina, Iksisos 
wood, glass, electric light 
225 xl25 x 12cm.,1991. 
Photo: Susan Unterberg 

TOP RIGHT: EJieHa EjiarHHa 
Detail Iksisos. Photo: Susan 
Unterberg. 

BOTTOM: EJieHa ELnarHHa 
Yelena Elagina, Prekrasnoye 
(The Sublime or Red Square), 
enamelware pots and m/m, 









WM 



mm 





are not really concerned about women's 
problems. We are interested in the language of 
science, the context in which this language is 
produced, and the way this language constructs 
an ideology." There is a certain irony in this 
statement, for while it may be true that the 
Peppers' expressed intentions were "to explore 
the metaphorical workings of the language of 
science [and] the way ideology works deep 
inside language," the fact remains that the 
most powerful examples of these 
interconnections come from the pseudoscientic 
material they have collected on the 
medicalization of women's bodies: the chart of 
"Data Concerning Discharge as Related to the 
Degree of Vaginal Cleanliness According to 
Hermin"; "Classification of Retrodeviation of 
the Uterus According to Elkin"; the "Diagram of 
Fallopian Tube Permeability with the Aid of 

Heresies/idiomA 33 






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34 Heresies/idiomA 



orams Obtained Through Insufflation 
'^ .Red Guard' Device" (the Red Guard 
* ithtt the name given to an actual genealogical 
&*f for examining women); "Methods of 
'^'^ation," which seem to be ways thought 
^°ind the cervix, including "Gegor's 
* n& Device," "Placement of Kafka's Cover 
''^he Cervix of the Uterus," or "To Drink Some 

r • are too hilarious and too cruel to be 
■^tfi" up They reveal what feminists in various 
Sis have been exploring for some time: the 
fantasy link between femininity and the 
Shological, an important component of the 
BOlitlcal unconscious as it developed within 
jjatriarchal configurations. Categorizing 
femininity as diseased, a source of 
contamination, or simply enigmatic serves to 
regulate sexual mores and to establish state 
policy on public hygiene and state control over 
Omen's labor and reproductive activity. While 
the Peppers may not categorize their activity as 
feminist, their exhibition reveals that any 
charting of the complex nexus of language, 
science, and ideology has historically been 
mapped over the dark continent of the 
female body. 



The Last Word 

Witeand right. Of course they have nothing to 
tip with each other. 

— Gertrude Stein 

The work of Svetlana Kopystianskaya 

' ib,1950) is in a very literal sense the ongoing 
actof finding a language, Tecriture feminine," 
Of writing in the idiom A. The subject matter of 
her paintings is texts — readymades of a 
reality already written for her, the barrage of 
bureaucratic language she had found herself 

■ daily overwhelmed by. "I don't go in for political 
activity," she says. "I'm very far from politics, 
wrt you see, all our newspapers and magazines 
Of the so-called period of stagnation were 
absolute nonsense. It was absurd. The 
"formation they contained had nothing to do 

' with reality, with real life. Several years ago I 
*| Copied out from a newspaper a most banal 
«« about a communist subotnik [someone 

■ *» is a hard worker for the revolution — 

Iftih g0n Saturda y s ' for example]" (interview 

•Med Uth ° r ' Dec ' 1989) - 0ne version she 
8t J a : text w 'th meaning, the other she called 

'&ovst Wlth n ° meanir, g- The lyrical f| ow of 
^ystianskaya's hand painting of the letters is 

a?oiitjM lfference - This act was not as 

fe' no ft ShS thou § ht - for as her husband, 

herwork ° Ut ' WhSn Svetlana be § an sellin S 

abroad, officials were very suspicious 



OPPOSITE: 

JlioflMHJia CKpHnKHHa H 
Ojier fleTpeHKo 
Ludmila Skripkina and Oleg 
Petrenko (The Peppers). 

Top Left: 

Bone Marrow, six pea-filled 
porcelain pipes with cloth 
apron, 109x38 cm., 1989. 
Photo: Dennis Cowley, 
courtesy of Ronald Feldman 
Fine Arts. 

Top Right: Chart ofRelia, 
enamel paint and m/m on 
masonite, 164x122 cm. 
overall, 1989. Photo: Dennis 
Cowley, courtesy of Ronald 
Feldman Fine Arts. 

Bottom Left: The Methods of 
Provocation, enamel on 
masonite with enamelware 
lids and pot, painting 
122x150 cm., 1990. Photo: 
D. James Dee, courtesy of 
Ronald Feldman Fine Arts. 

Bottom Right: Translation for 
Methods of Provocation. 



of these textual works: "All the other paintings 
passed with no problems, but at the Sotheby's 
auction a very high-ranking official from the 
Central Committee of the Communist Party 
came, he looked at the works with texts, and 
he got very nervous wanting to know what was 
said in the texts. Someone made a joke that 
the texts were significant state secrets. This 
just illustrates the fact that all texts are treated 
from the political point of view. For example, 
it's forbidden to take xerox machines into the 
U.S.S.R., but you can bring cameras and video- 
cameras." 

It was in the midst of this textual 
overproduction and censorship that 
Kopystianskaya began her subversion of the 
constitutive power of language. In her 
landscape paintings, composed of handwritten 
texts, she reverses the viewer's habitual 
relation to language — rather than looking 
through the printed word to the meaning it is 
intended to convey, the viewer is invited to look 
at it. In this manipulation of attention, the 
materiality of language is foregrounded. The 
movements of semantic and narrative 
construction are suspended or reversed; the 
conventional ground, the transparent medium 
of language, usurps the place of the narrative. 
Her intention, however, is not just to reduce 
language to its surfaces, but rather to 
investigate the condition of any sign's visibility. 
To see the landscape and to read the text are 
two incompatible operations that exclude one 
another because they require different 
adjustments. The texts are passages from 
famous Russian novels that have so described 
the Russian landscape it is impossible to 
perceive it except through this screen of 
language which turns all into a paysage 
moralise — a landscape onto which man 
imparts and from which he seeks to extract 
meaning. It is not the "real" that 
Kopystianskaya intended to reclaim; rather, she 
was motivated by the sense that her voice, her 
vision, had been silenced by what she 
describes as "the oppressive role of literature 
in the Russian visual arts; literature drives the 
visual properties of an artwork into the 
background." In Kopystianskaya's landscapes 
the viewer is asked to let go of the imposed 
significance and focus instead upon something 
far more elusive, something that is only artistic 
transparency and without substance. 

No closure to this essay is possible. As 
we continue to expand our conversational 
community, the numbers of women artists will 
always be in excess of our ability to provide 
supportive commentary. This magazine is no 
more than a beginning, part of an ongoing 
commitment "to do immediately for living 




Heresies/idiomA 35 




g*J»l««g5s»! 















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only re2 
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artists what we can only do belatedly 
^ S e in the past — write them into 
' »2i What is hoped for is that the act of 
, will change the very history it records. 
' publication of IdiomA it will no longer 
-sible for curators or gallery directors to 
1 several have done, that they didn't 
e any women artists in their exhibition of 
3 n art because they couldn't find any. To 

the idiom A is no longer to write in the 
give, but instead to write in the 
ional or future tense, an interrogative 
that asks, "Why not?" and looks forward 
|e that will be different. 
\tthe beginning of this century Virginia 
explained women's absence from history 
|ti Cultural production in terms of the 
fidrof the the mirror: "Women have 
1 all these centuries as looking-glasses 
ssingthe magic and delicious power of 
ing the figure of man at twice its natural 
;j|was an important role, she argues; it 
id men to go out on the stage of history 
3 what needed to be done. We have 
to look for ourselves in this mirror but 
bund little in the way of resemblance, 
iadymade reflections. Still, the process of 
g for ourselves has revealed something 
workings of this apparatus. In an 
sting linguistic coincidence Lacan would 
Me, mir in Russian means "world." 
ling to Lacanian theory, we fashion and 
lion ourselves through these necessary 
institutive repeated encounters with the 
.There is noplace else we can look for a 
accurate image than to this apparatus 
an provide only fragmentary 
cognitions. The question that feminists on 
iides of the mir are now considering is 
fie mir would look like if we were to turn 
"nagic and delicious power" women have 
ted to reflecting the figure of woman at, 
1st its natural size. Miru mir. 22 



iTickner, "Images of women and la peinture 
toe," Nancy Spero (London: ICA/Fruitmarket 
leiy, 1987), p. 5. 

^anaTolstaya, "An interview with Tatyana Tolstaya," 
fler/i/nes 20/21 (Winter 1990/91), p. 26. 
>%) Nesterova, quoted in Pauline Michgelsen, 
• esdes Arts," A Chicken Is No Bird (Amsterdam & 
K0W: Pica ran Editions, 1991), p . 71. 
the legislative reforms that took place during the 

. Period granting women equal access with men 
Ration and professional training, equal 
ipo|it' tleS ' nemployment ' enumeration, and social 
nena'T a ° tlVity ' etc '' were more often proclaimed 

■ ■- d ' the ve iy fact of having this equity 



°Claimed 



and written into law marks an advance over 



TOP: 

CBeTJiaHa KonucTflHCKafl 
Svetlana Kopystianskaya, 
Landscape, o/c with acrylic, 
79x158 cm., 1985. Photo 
courtesy of Phyllis Kind Gallery. 

BOTTOM: 

CBeTJiaHa KonbiCTflHCKaa 
Svetlana Kopystianskaya, 
Detail Landscape 1985. 
Photo: Jo Anna Isaak. 



the majority of industrialized countries even now. 
Canadian Woman Studies (Winter 1989) provides a 
detailed comparison between the conditions of 
Canadian and Soviet women. 
Hilton Kramer, New York Times Magazine, Oct. 11, 
1981, p. 54. 

Benedikt Livshits, Polutoraglazyi strelets 
(Moscow/Leningrad, 1933), p. 143. For an account of 
the legend of the Amazons as it forms part of the early 
history of Russian women, see Dorothy Atkinson, 
"Society and the Sexes in the Russian Past," in 
Dorothy Atkinson, Alexander Dallin, and Gail Warshosky 
Lapidus, eds., Women in Russia (Stanford: Stanford 
University Press, 1977). 

Rozsika Parker and Griselda Pollock, Old Mistresses: 
Women, Art and Ideology (London: Routledge and 
Kegan Paul, 1981), p. 99. 

Griselda Pollock, "Vision, Voice and Power: Feminist Art 
History and Marxism," Block 6 (1982), p. 4. 
Quoted in Barbara Alpern Engel, Mothers and 
Daughters: Women of the Intelligentsia in Nineteenth- 
Century Russia (Cambridge: Cambridge University 
Press, 1987), p. 54. 

Natalya Goncharova, "Preface to Catalogue of One-Man 
[sic] Exhibition, 1913," Russian Art of the Avant-Garde, 
Theory and Criticism: 1902-1935, John Bowlt, ed. 
(New York: The Viking Press, 1976), pp. 57-58. 
Griselda Pollock, Vision and Difference: Femininity, 
Feminism and the Histories of Art (London and New 
York: Routledge, 1988), p. 11. 
Ludmilla Vachtova, "The Russian Woman and Her 
Avant- Garde," in Women Artists of the Russian Avant- 
Garde 1910-1930 (Cologne: Galerie Gmurzynska, 
1979), pp. 43-44. 

Alison Hilton, "'Bases of the New Creation'; Women 
Arist and Constructivism," Arts Magazine, Oct. 1980, 
p. 142. 

Sobko, N. P. "Russkoe iskusstvo v 1886" (Russian art 
in 1886) Leningrad: Public Library, Manuscript Division 
(Fond 708, ed. khr. 62). 

Anna Alchuk, "The Silent Sex," A Chicken Is No Bird, 
pp. 49-54. 

Ira Zatulovskaya, quoted in A Chicken Is No Bird, 
p. 69. 

"Angry Women Demand Change," Moskovskie Novosti, 
June 15, 1988, cited in Francine du Plessix Gray, 
Soviet Women: Walking the Tightrope (New York: 
Doubleday, 1990), pp. 37-38. 
See Yelena Khanga, "No Matryoshkas Need Apply," 
The New York Times, Monday, November 25, 1991, 
Op-Ed section. 

The Decembrists attempted to liberalize Russia's 
political, economic, and social systems by staging an 
abortive coup in December of 1825. 

Stephen Heath, "Lessons from Brecht," Screen 15:2 

(1974), p. 107. 

Griselda Pollock, Vision and Difference, p. 15. 

In a further coincidence, mir also means "peace." 

Miru mir means "peace to the world." @ 



Heresies/idiomA 37 



IIOMEMy HE BblBAET 
BEJIHKHX Xy^O>KHHU? 



JlHUqa HOIOIHH 



Why Have There Been 

No Great Women Artists? 



Linda Nochlin 



Editor's note: This classic essay was first published 
in 1971 in the anthology Woman in Sexist Society: 
Studies in Power and Powerlessness, edited by 
Vivian Gomick and Barbara K. Moran (Basic Books). 
The following excerpts have been translated with 
permission of the author. 



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38 Heresies/idiomA 



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Heresies/idiomA 39 



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hbctobom naTHe hjih jihhhh Ha xojicTe hjih jihctc 6y- 
Marn, b KaMHe, raHHe, njiacraKe hjih MeTajijie - ho oh 
hh b KoeM cjiyqae He HMeeT HHKaKoro OTHouieHna hh 
k pbiaaHHaM, hh k flOBepHrejibHOMy uienoTy. 

OflHaKo Ha caMOM Aejie, KaK BceM HaM H3BecTHo, 
no^oxeHHe b HCKyccTse b npoiujioM h b HacroameM , 
Taioice KaK h b corae apyrnx o6jiacreH, o6eccMbicjiHBa- 
eT, noAaBJiaeT h jininaeT yBepeHHOCTH Bcex Tex - h 
SKeHmHH b tom nncjie - KOMy He noBe3Jio pOflHTbCa c 
6e;iOH Koxeii, xejiaTejibHO b cpeflHe6ypxcya3HOH cpe- 
fle h, npeac^e Bcero, My^cyHHoii. flejio He b 3Be3#ax, 
He b ropMOHax, He b MeHcrpyajibHbix iniKjiax h He bo 
BHyTpeHHHx nojiocTax opraHH3Ma - flejio b HHCTHTy- 
Tax h b BocnHTaHHH, noa KOTopwM a noHHMaio Bee, 
mto npoHcxoflHT c yejioBeKOM Ha^HHaa c toto MOMeH- 
Ta, Korfla oh bxojjht b Ham mhp chmbojiob, 3HaKOB h 
CHraajioB. flocTOHHo y/JHBjieHHa Ha caMOM sejie to, 
mto npn Bcex npenaTCTBHax >KeHiHHHaM (KaK h He- 
rpaM) y/raerca #o6HTbca TaKHX 6jiecTamHx ycnexoB 
no BeflOMCTBy 6ejioro Myx«JHHbi - b HayKe, nojiHTHKe 

H HCKyCCTBe. 



Kor/ia 3az(yMaenibca o MOTHBax Bonpoca "Uom^ 
He 6biBaeT >KeHm.HH-xyso>KHHn;" , HaTOHaemi, noHit- y 
MaTb, HacKojiwco HauiH npeflCTaB^eHHa o tom, KaK v 
TpoeH mhp, o6yaiOBjieHbi - h cpajibCHcpHusipor,;,.^, i'" 
cpopMyjinpoBKOH caMbix BaacHbix npoojieM.Mn He co- 
MHeBaeMca b tom, hto cymecrByioT npo6jiew,i U cto>j- 
hoh A3hh, npo6jieMa 6eflH0CTH, npo6jieMa lepHOKoxc. 
ro HacejieHHa, a TaKxe aceHCKaa npo6jieMa. Ilm-nair. 
jia Hy>KHO cnpocHTb ce6a: a kto CTaBHT sth npo6ji Ch m 
h c KaKoit nejibio ohh (popMyjinpyioTca hmchho TaKHM 

06pa30M. (MOXCHO OCBeXCHTb B naM3TH KOHHOTai^IIH : 

"eBpencKoro Bonpoca" b Hau,HCTCKOH FepMaHHu.) [,„j 
TaKHM o6pa30M, npo6^eMa xeHCKoro paBeHCTBa-» 

HCKyCCTBe HJIH KaKOH 6bl TO HH 6bWO HHOH o6^acTH - 

He nopo^KaaeTca OTHocHTe/ibHOH 6^aro»ce^aTe^iiHo- 

CTbK), HJIH, Hao6opOT, 3JIOK03HCHHOCTbIO OTfle^hHLIX 

MyxcyHH, He B03HHKaeT b pe3yjibTaTe caMOHa«eaHHo- 

CTHH/IHCaM0yHHMH2CeHHa0TAejIbHHXm'Hll]l!H Oh.i 

KopeHHTca b caMoii npnpofle Hainnx HHCTHTyAnonajii)- 

HblX CTpyKTyp, B TOM MHp0B033peHHH, K0T(i]\U OMi: 

HaBa3biBaroT HHflHBHflyyMy. KaK OTMe^a/i 6ojieecra - 
/ieT TOMy Ha3aA JH»coh CTKjapT Mbjijib, "Bee to, mo , 
o6bifleHHo, npeACTaB/iaeTca HaM ecTecTBenuMM. TaK 
KaK o6bwan noAMKHeHHa xeHmHHbi Myaciinne npiwsT 
BceMH h noBcrofly, jno6oe 0TK/i0HeHHe ot nero, eciecT-. 
BeHHo, KaxceTca npoTHBoecTecTBeHHbiM." B cBoeM 
6ojibuiHHCTBe MyjK^HHbi, Ha c/iOBax BHCTynaa 3a pa- 

BeHCTBO, HeOXOTHO 0TKa3bIBa«3TCa OT 3T0TO "eCTCCT- 

BeHHoro" nopaflKa Bemeii, cy^amero hm 3mHmeji\>- 
Hbie Bbiroflbi. riojioaceHHe JKeHiuHHH ooioacHaeTCSf - - 
TeM, mto, KaK cnpaBeAJiHBo 3aMeTHji Mhjijib. i. oi.-iii- 
l me ot npoHHx yraeTeHHbix KJiaccoB h KacT, m> >..'in- 
hh Tpe6yiOT ot Hee He tojibko noflMHHeHHa, ho h caMO- 
OTBepxeHHOH jiio6bh. ^KeHHtHHa HHTepHa;ni3yer Tpe- 
6oBaHHa o6mecTBa, b kotopom rocnoflCTB;. i 1 1" m> ■ ' 1H ' 
Ha, nonajjaeT b 3aBHCHMOCTb ot MaTepna/ibUbix 6/iar. 
^KeHniHHe cpeflHero K/iacca ecTb, mto TepsiTb, KpoMe 
cbohx u;eneH. [... ] 

B ocHOBe 3Toro Bonpoca nemaT MHoroync/ieHHbie 
HaHBHwe, HCKaaceHHbie, HeKpHTH^Hbie MHemia otho- 
CHTe^bHO co3flaHHa npoH3BeAeHHa HCKyccTBa BOoSwei 
a TaKace co3AaHHa Bbmaiomeroca npoH3BefleHna hc-. - 
KyccTBa. Co3HaTe;ibHO h/ih Heoco3HaHHO, sth npefl" 
y6e>KfleHHa o6i,eAHHaioT b oahh pa^ HMeHa Mhk&h» 
«>Kejio h BaH Tora, Pa<pa3Jia h flxeKcoHa IIoJiJioKa, 
noMemaa hx b pa3pafl "Bcjihkhx"- noneTHoe HaiiMe 
BaHHe, nosTBep^cfleHHoe itejiOM pmou aKaneMH*" 



40 Heresies/idiomA 



lX urryflHM. IToa Bcjihkhm Xvaoxhhkom, kohchho, 
'• noapa3y MeBaeTCa T0T ' KT0 oceHeH 'TeHnajibHocTbio". 
Bcsoioo^epeflb, FeHnajibHocTbio cm-iTaiOT Ty BHCBpe- 
vjeHH yio h 3araAOMHyio cnjiy, KOTopaa HeKOTopwM 06- 
oa30M soruiomeHa b jm<-iHOCTM BeAMKoro XyAO>KHHKa. 
1 jTaKiie ycTaHOBKH xapaKTepHbi j\jm oqenb MHorux 
iickyccTBOBeA i iecKHx pa6oT. He coywaHHO Tax Majio 
HCOieflOBaHW ycjioBna, KOTopwe o6mmho conyTCTByiOT 

C03flaHHK) BC/IIiKOrO npOH3BefleHH5I [... ]. 

TaKHM o6pa30M, b ocHcme Bonpoca o >KeHmnHe-xy- 
iiO/KHHu;e jiejKHT mhcp o Bctokom XyaoxHHKe - repoe 
coTCHMOHorpacpHH, 6oronoflo6HOM, HenoBTopHMow. - 
<n,a mhhoctb c caMoro poxAeHna Haaejiena oco6oii 
cy6cTaHUneH CaMopoAHoro TeHHa iuh TajiaHTa, Ha- 
noflo6ne xapeHoii KJieuKH b KypunoM 6y/ibone, koto- 
poro, KaK uiHJia b MeiiiKe, He yTaniub, KaKHMH 6m ne- 
faaronpirsTHbiMH h 6ecnepcneKTiiBHHMH hh 6mjih 06- 

CTOflTOIbCTBa. 

ManwecKasi aypa, OKpyxaromaa n3o6pa3HTe^b- 

noencKyccTBo h ero TBopu,a, ecrecTBeHHO, c He3ana- 

M9IHMX BpeMeH nopo>Kflajia MHCpw. MHTepecHO, mto 

. TCxe MaraqecKwe cnoco6nocTH, KaKne npiinHCHBaji 

' flpeBHerpeyecKOMy CKyjibirropy JlHCunny n^iaTOH - Ta- 

MHCTBeHHHH BHyTpCHHHH TOAOC B paHHCM K3HOCTH, OT- 

cytCTBHe Apyrax yqHTejieii, KpoMe BejiHKoro ymnensi 

• flpitpoflH - noBTopaioTca y»:e b XIX BCKe 6norpacpoM 

KypoeMaKcoM Bkdiuohom. CBepx-becTecTBCHHbie cno- 

'5»DH0CTHXyAOJKHHKa K3K HMHTaTOpa fleHCTBHTejIbHO- 

•.5tii,;BJijmeHHeMorymecTBeHHbiMi-i h, bo3mo>kho, onac- 
HMMiicwiaMH HCTopjmecKH nocTaBH/10 ero oco6h5ikom 
- , tauecTBe 6oronoflo6Horo TBopua, co3HAaioiHero Bw- 
J«esi3Hn<iero. 

v-Texnopuia6jionoM Mucpojionin HCKyccTBa crajia 

30VKaOT0M, KaK CTapilIHH XyflOKHHK HJIH npoHii- 
'|v T<yibHH KnOKpOBHTeAb OTKpblBaeT MVAO-AHT5I, 

' .. yH0B o6jiiiKe CMHpeHHoro nacTyuiKa. Ba3apH 
, CCM ^P™Ji o6pa3 KDHoro Hjkotto, 3aMeMeHHoro Be- 
en. Ma °y 3 > Kor^a napHwuiKa, npiiivisiAbiBaa 3a 
"exoir J)HC0BajI 0Beu ' Ha KainHe. OiuejiOM/ienHbiH 
aciBOMpHcyHKa, HiiMa6y3 HeMCAACHHo B3M 6e«- 

ennnrue 



Homy k ce6e b yqeHHKH. B ciuiy TaiiHCTBeHHoro 



t )iK ^ HII5I > 6ojiee no3AHiie xyAo>KHHKii, xaKne KaK 
■^Hik) M H ' AliApea CaHcoBHHo, AHApea Aejn, Kac- 
fip, t - ' ailTe Hi>5i, Cyp6apan h Tohsi, 6hjw 33MeqeHbi 
3a* c (_""■"' KMHWx na CTopajibHbix o6cT05rrejibCTBax. 
ii:,; 'o J ii^ !HlOHOMy BejIHK0M y XyAO>i<HHKY hc Bwnajio 
, crynKTb Ha CTe3ro craBM b OKpyxeHHH 



oBe^bero CTasa, ero Ta^raHT Bee paBHo npoaB;iaeTca 
o^ieHb paHo h 6e3 BcaKoro nocTopoHHero BMeuiaTe^b- 
CTBa: 6biTyK)T paccKa3bi o On^Hnno Jlnnm* h o riycce- 
He, Kyp6e h o MoHe, Korapbie pwcoBajiH KapHKaTy- 
pH Ha no/rax yue6HHKOB bmccto toto, mto6bi 3aHH- 
inaTbca HayKaMH -nym kohc^ho mh HHKorAa He yc- 
jihmiHM paccKa30B mo^oawx akdasx, KOTopwe npe- 
He6pera^H 3aH5iTH5iMH h Mapa^H pncyHKaMH niKo^b- 
Hbie TeTpaflKH, ho npH stom CTajiH npHKa3MHKaMH ujm 
npoAaBu;aMH b o6yBHoii ^taBKe. CaM bcuhkhh MnKe/tb- 
aHA>KeAO, coraacHO ero yyeHHKy h 6norpacpy Ba3apH, 
pe6eHK0M npeAnoMHTaji yqe6e pncoBaHHe. CTo^b He- 
coMHeHeH 6mji ero Ta^aHT, coo6m;aeT Ba3apH, mo kot- 
m ero ymrrejib rHp^siHAafio OT^yyiwcii H3 Kanejuibi 
Cam-a Mapwsi HoBeAJia, r^e oh Ae/raji cppecKH, a 
KiHbra yyeHHK Bocno;ib30BajiC5i ero KpaTKOBpeMeHHHM 

OTCyTCTBHeM ^T06bl H306p33HTb "nOflMOCTKH, K03^W, 
TOpiUKH C KpaCKaMH, KHCTH H 33H5ITHX pa6oTOH nOflMa- 
CTepbeB", OH BbinOJIHHJI 3TO CTOJlb HCKyCHO, mto Bep- 

HyBiuwcb, MascTpo B03r;iacH^: "3tot MajibMHK 3HaeT 
6ojihme MeH5i!" 

KaK yacTo c^yqaeTCJi, 3th hctophh, b kotophx, Be- 
poai-HO, ecTb AOJta hcthhh, OAHOBpeMeHHo h OTpaxa- 
K)T, h yKpen^aiOT Te ycTaHOBKH, Ha kotopmx ohh no- 
KoaTca. flaxe 6yAy i ra ocHOBaHbi Ha peajibHOM (paKTe, 
3th MH(pbi oraocHTejibHO paHHero npoaB^eHHa reHH- 
aj[bH0CTH o6MaHmiBbi. Be3 coMHeHHa cooTBeTCTByeT 
AeiicTBHTe^bHOCTH, HanpHMep,TOT (paKT, mto mo^oaoh 
IlHKacco BbnjepjKaji BCTynHTejtbHBie 3K3aMeHH b Bap- 
cejiOHCKyio, a 3aTeM b MaApHACKyio AicaAeMHio hc- 
KyccTB b B03pacTe naTHawaTH ^teT h Bcero 3a oahh 
AeHb, Torfla KaK 6ojibraHHCTBy KaHAHflaTOB Tpe6oBajt- 
ca KaK MHHHMyM Mecau; noAroTOBKH. Ho xoTe^ocb 6h 
no6ojibiiie 3HaTb h o Tex He no jieTaM pa3BHTbix npe- 
TeHAeHTax, KOTopbie b AajibHeiiraeM CTajin cpeAHHMH 
xyAoacHHKaMH mm BOo6m;e He cocToajiacb b HCKyccT- 
Be - xoTa, KOHe^HO, xaKHe He HHTepecyroT hctophkob 
HCKyCCTB - HJIH O TOH pOJ[H, KOTopyw CHrpa^ B paHHeM 
xyAoacecTBeHHOM pa3BHTHH cbraa oTen, nnKacco - npo- 
4>eccop acHBonncH. A mto, ecnH 6h nnKacco poAmica 
AeBoyKofi? 06pam;aji 6bi ceHbpp Pync TaKoe BHHinaHHe 
h noompa^: 6bi xyflo»cecTBeHHbie 3m6hii;hh b MajieHb- 
koh na6jniTe? 

Bo Bcex 3thx paccKa3ax ae^taeTca aKu;eHT Ha MyAec- 
Hyio, HeAeTepMHHHpoBaHHyiso, acou,HajibHyio npnpoAy 
xyfloacecTBeHHOH OAapeHHOCTH. TaKoe no/iype^HrH03- 



Heresies/idiomA 41 



Hoe oTHomemie k po;m xyAo>KHHKa b XIX BeKe aobo- 
AHTca ao ypoBHa araorpacpHH. HcropHKH HCKyccTBa, 

KpHTHKH H, He B nOCJTeAHKOIO O^epeAb, CaMH XyAOJKHH- 

kh npHAaBa^H HCKyccray xapaKTep pejrarcra, nooieA- 
Hero oruiOTa bmcihhx uchhoctch b MaTepnajiHCTH- ue- 

CKOM MHpe. XyAO^CHHK B 3CHTH5IX CBflTblX XIX BeKa 60- 

peTca c Kpaime Bbipa»ceHHbiM npoTHBoaeiicTBHeM 
ceMbH h o6mecTBa, noAo6Ho xpHcraaHCKOMy MyneHH- 
Ky. 06mecTBo no6HBaeT ero KaineHHaMH h npnrBOJKAa- 
eT k no3opHOMy cro;i6y, ho b kohcmhom cvieTe oh npe- 
oflo^eBaeT 3Jiyio cyfli.6y - o6bnnrc>, yBBi, yxe yiuxsi H3 
>kh3hh - noTOMy mto H3 caMoit miy6HHbi cBoero cyme- 
CTBa oh H3Jiy^aeT TaHHCTBeHHoe, cBameHHoe Jiyye3ap- 
Hoe CHaHHe TeHHa. Bot 6e3yMHbiii BaH For co3epnaeT 
noACOJiHyxH, HecinoTpa Ha snanennm ecrae npnnaAKH 
h KpaHHRDBD HHmeTy; a bot Ce3aHH, npeHe6pera5i OTe- 
yecKHM npoKjiaraeM h o6mecTBeHHbiM npe3peHHeM, 

peBOBK)U,HOHH3HpyeT JKHBOnHCb; ForeH OAHHM 3K3H- 

CTeHHHajibHbiM xcecTOM OTpHHyBiHHii pecneKTa6e;ib- 
HocTb h cpHHaHCOBoe 6jiaronojiy*nie, yAa;iaeTca b Tpo- 
nHKH b noHCKax CBoero npH3BaHHa; a Tyjiy3-JIoTpeK, 
ypoAJiHBbiH KapjiHK n nbHHHaa, xepTByeT npapox- 
AeHHbiM npaBOM apncTO-KpaTa BAOXHOBeHHio, koto- 
poe o6peTaeT b xajiKHx Tpymo6ax. 

Ceiwac hh oahh cepbe3HHH hctophk HCKyccTBa He 
npHHHMaeT 3a ^Hcryio MOHeTy ctojib o^eBHAHbie bh- 
Mwcyibi. OAHaKO noAC03HaHHe Hcc^eAOBaTe^a h aKCHO- 

Mbl, H3 KOTOpblX OH HCXOAHT, CpOpMHpyiOTCa HMeHHO 

TaKoii MHCpojioraeH xyAoxecTBeHHoro TBopuecTBa h 
conyTCTByioiHHx eMy o6croaTe;ibCTB, xoTa oh h oroBa- 
pHBaeTca no noBOAy couHajibHbix b^h3hhh, coBpetvreH- 

HblX BeaHHH, SKOHOMHiieCKHX KpH3HCOB H T.n. B OCHO- 

Be caMbix HCKymeHHbix HCCJieAOBaHHH Be^HKHxxyAO?K- 

HHKOB - KOHKpeTHO, MOHOrpa(pHH nO HCTOpHH HCKyCCT- 
Ba, KOTOpbie HCX0A3T H3 KOHUenHHH XyAOJKHHKa KaK 
nepBHIHOrO, a COHHajIbHblX H HHCTHTynHOHajIbHHX 

CTpyKTyp, b paMKax kotopmx eMy AOBcrcocb «HTb h 
pa6oTaTb, KaK BTopocTeneHHoro cpoHOBoro cpaKTopa - 
b ocHOBe hx npaneTca Teopna reHHa KaK caMopoAKa h 
KOHuenuna HHAHBHAyajibHoro TBopf ecrBa KaK cbo6oa- 
hoto npeAnpHHHMaTe^BCTBa. Ha TaKoii ocHOBe TcyTCT- 
BHe KpynHbix AOCTH>KeHHH cpeAH >KeHiu,HH (popMyjia- 
pyeTca KaK CHjuiorH3M: cam 6h b jsceHiuHHe Taanca 
caMopoAOK reHHajibHOCTH, oh HeH36eacHo npoaBHrcca 
6w. Ho oh He npoaBHjica. GneAOBaTejibHO, sceHinnHbi 
He OAapeHH thm caMopoAKOM. ^to h Tpe6oBa;iocb ao- 
Ka3aTb. Ecra Aaace flxoTTO, 6e3BecTHHH nacryinoK, h 



BaH Tor co cbohmh npnnaAKaMH Ao6HJiHCb cbocto to 
noneiny >ice sto hc yAaerca xceHiHHHaM? 

OAHaKO KOJIb CKOpO Mbl nOKHHCM MHp CK330K II nm. 

poiecTB, a BinecTO SToro 6pocHM HenpeAB3siTUH 
B3raaA na Bee coHHajibHbie crpyKTypbi h hhcthtvtm - 
KOTopbie KorAa jih6o cymecTBOBajiH b hctophh, to ok,i- 
aceTca, uto h caMbie Bonpocw, npeacTaBj]siiomnenjig 
HCTopHKa HHTepec, (popMyjmpyiOTca coBceM no-nno- 
My. Moxcho, HanpHMep, noHHTepecoBaTbca, KaKneo6- 
mecTBeHHbie k^hccm o6bwho Ha npoTaaccHim hctodhh 
nocTaB^a^H xyAOKHHKOB. KaKaa yacTb xyAojKiiHKOB 
h acyjibnTopoB, TO^Hee, BHAaromHxca xyAo^HiiKOBii 
CKy^bnTopoB, npoHcxoAflT H3 ceMeH, b kotopwx otu,«" 

H^H APyfHe 6^H3KHe 3aHHMaiOTCa HCKyCCTBOM IIJ1K pa- 

6oTaK)T b civtejKHbix npocpeccHax. [... ] HecMOTpana - 
3HaMHre;ibHoe hkcjio bcuhkhx OTmeneHU,CB XIX Rera, 
mbh cyAB6bi nHTaHDT jno6oBb ny6^HKH k Me^oapaMc, 
Bee ace npHAeTca npH3HaTb, mto 6ojibinaa i iacTi> xy- 
A05KHHKOB, Be^IHKHX h He oueHb, b Te BpeMeiia, Korfla 
6bmo npHHaTO hath no CTonaM poAHTe^ew, HMCJin-Ta- 
kh othob-xvao>khhkob. B pa3paAe BbiAaioiAnxca xy-- 
AoacHHKOB cpa3y npHXOAaT b ro^oBy HMena fliopepan 
ro^b6eHHa, PatpaaKa h BepHHHH. J[ax<e xyAOXHiiKii 
HOBeHHiero BpeMeHH - nHKacco, flacaKOM.- 1 ■> i: 1: 
YaiieTT npHHaAJieacaT ceinbain xyAOx<HHKOB. I... ] 

KorAa Bonpoc 06 ycjioBHax xyAoxcecTBeHHoii aesi- 
TeicbHOCTH 3aAaeTca KoppeKTHo (a xyAOxccTBcmiaa 
AeaTe^bHOCTb BHAaromeroca Macrepa - sto ^huii> 
yacTb cio>KeTa) , -hccomhchho, npHAeTcaoCcyxAan' 11 , 
CHTyanHH, conyTCTByroiiuie pa6oTe pa3yMa, peajiina- 
hhh TajiaHTa Boo6me,a He to^bko Ta^aHTa xyaoxecT*/ 
BeHHoro. IIlKOJia nnaxe b yyeHUH o reHeTfwecKOii 
SHHCTeMo^rorHM yTBep>KAaeT, uto pa3BHTHe hhtcaick- 
Ta h Boo6pax;eHHa y Ma^eHbKHx AeTeii - T.c.Toro, ito 
mh Ha3HBaeM TajiaHTOM - sto He craraMCCKasi cym- -- 

HOCTb, a AHHaMHieCKaa aKTHBHOCTb, AeaTe^bHOCTb ; 

AaHHoro cy6i)eKTa b AaHHofi CHTyanHH. Ranee, hcoi - 
AOBaHHa b o6^racTH pa3BHTHa pe6eHKa no3Bo;niioT 33- 
KJiBDMHTb, mto cnoco6HocTH pa3BHBaioTca nocu-i'^' 1111 ^ 
He3aMeTHO, Ha^HHaa c caMoro paHHero ACTCTBa, « m 
xaHH3Mbi aAanTanHH h aKKOMOAanun coana^n3Hpo 

BaHHOM ^HMHOCTH yCTaHaB^HBaiOTCa HaCTO^bKO p ^ 

mto HewcKyuieHHOMy Ha6^roAaTe^K) ohh h b caM0i> 
nt MoryT noKa3aTbca BpoxcAenHbiMH. Ha 3tom oc 

HHH MO>KHO 3aKJIK)MHTb, ^TO HCOieAOBaTCJISlM n P l -. 

ca OTKa3aTbca ot KOHnenuHH bpoxcachhoh lllWHB1 _ eff , 
ajibHoii reHna^bHOCTH KaK ABHJKymeii chj>" Vvr1 ^.. 
BeHHoro nponecca - KOHHenuHH, co3HaTe^i>H0 ap 



42 Heresies/idiomA 



■mpOHaHHOH HJIH HC0C03H3HH0H - 11 OTKa33TbC$I OT HCe 

HeTOfliKO no coo6pa>i<enH5iM MeTaiiCTopimecKoro xa- 

paKTepa. 

TaKHM o6pa30M, Bonpoc o tom, noieMy He 6wb3ct 
jgflHKHX xyfloxHHU, npiiBeji nac k BHBoay o tom, mto 
KCKyccTBO He ecTi, CBo6oflHaji, aBTOHOMHasi aeaTejib- 
nocTBCBepxoaapeHHOM jihmhocth, Ha KOTopyio "no- 
miiisuin" xyfloxHHKH-npeAiuecTBeHHHKH hjih, cobccm 
HcnoHHTHWM o6pa30M, "o6u;ecTBenHbie CHJiw". ripa- 
wwbuee 6yfleT yTBepxAaTb, mto bcs cnTyau,nsi b hc- 

K)'CCTBe H B IUiaHe p33BHTH5I J11HIH0CTH XyAOKHHKa, II 

BnjiaHeKaMecTBa ero npoii3BeAeniisi pa3BitBaeTcsi 

BiiyTpH KOHKpeTHOH o6meCTBeHHOH CHTyaU,HH, 5IBJT51- 

eicflHeon>eMJiCMOH yacrbio AanHoii couiiajibHoii 
rrpyKTypw, onocpeAveTca it onpeaejiaeTca Bnojine 

KOHKpeTHHMH COHHajIbHHMH HHCTHTyTaMH, 6yflb TO 

xyflOxecTBeHHbie aKaaeMHH, CHCTeina MeneHaTCTBa, 
Mifipojioma 6oroBAoxHOBeHHoro TBopu,a, xyAOXHHKa- 

' MyXHHHH HJIH H3H)a. [...] 

%o xe Ta KyMKa jkchiuhh, KOTopwe na npoTsme- 
HHiiBeKOB, HecMOTpsr Ha Bee npensiTCTBHa, ao6mb3- 
jacb iiciynoMHTejibHoro nojioxeHHH, earn He BepiimH, 
paBHbix Pein6paHATy, MiiKejibaHA>Kejio hjih IlHKacco? 

.ECTbJIHB HHX MTO-HH6yflb TaKOe, MTO XapaKTepH30B3- 

J1o6bihx KaK rpynny h k3k jihuhocth? He Hivrea B03- 
moxhocth paccMOTpeTb 3tot Bonpoc bo Bcex noApo6- 
hoctjix, a xoTejia 6m BbmejiHTb hcckojibko cbohctb: 
bccohh, npaicTHyecKH 6e3 HCKjiro^eHHii, hjih hmcjih 
QmoB-xyAoxHHKOB, hjih, o6bimio no3AHee, b XIX- 
AABeKax BCTynajiH b 6jiH3KHe jniMHbie OTHomeHHa c 

OO^ee CHJIbHOH, AOMHHHpyiOmeH JIHMHOCTblO XyAO>K- 
HHKa-MyxUHHbl. KoiieiHO, 3TH Xap3KTepHCTHKH He- 

peflKHHy MyxqiiH Toxce, K3K yxe b otmcmchhom cjiy- 

^XyACOCHHKOB - OTH.OB II CblHOBeH. OflHaKO AJM HX 

wuier xeHCKoro nojia sto cnpaBefljiHBo BcerAa 6e3 hc- 
.KWeHHH, bo bc5ikom cjiyqae ao nocjieAHero Bpeine- 

"' " a<1H Hasi c JierenAapHoro CKyjibnTopa Ca6iiHbi 
V0 H ulTaHH6ax, KOTopoii mh 065133HH rpyimoii io>kho- 
- nopTajia CTpac6yprcKoro co6opa, 11 Koi-maa P03011 

H3 P! CaMOH 3HaMCHHT0H aHHMSJIHCTKOH XIX BCK3, 
p , - <IaaTa KHXBHAHbIX XyflOXHHU,, KaK MapiI3TT3 
- yCTH, AOMb THHTOpCTTO, JI3BHHH5I ®0HT3Ha, ApTC- 

' I3 »a AxeHTHjiecKii, 3jni3a6eT IIIepoH, Bn>Ke-JIe6- 
6m HrejlHKa KaycpcpMaHH - Bee, 6e3 HCKJiioueHwa, 

^IflOMepaMH XyflOXHHKOB. 

Baa B£Ke ^ e P Ta Mopii30 noAAep>KHBajia Tecuwe 
Mv* 00THoiIIeH H5i c MaHe 11 BnocjieACTBHe Bbiiujia 3a- 
3a ero 6paTa, 3 Mspn KaccaT bo mhotom omipa- 



Jiacb Ha CTHjib CBoero 6jiH3Koro Apyra flera. Tot ca- 

MHH pa3pbIB TpaAHH,HOHHHX CBHSeft H 0TKa3 OT OCBH- 

meHHbix BpeineHeM npneMOB, kotophh no3BOJiHji 

My2CMHHaM-XyA0»CHHKaM BO BTOpOH nOJIOBHHe XIX Be- 

Ka HaHTH caMo6biTHbie HanpaBJieHHH, cobccm He noxo- 
>KHe Ha nyTH oth,ob, flaji B03MoacaocTb h JKeHiiiHHaM, 
He 6e3 AonojiHHTejibHbix npenaTCTBHH, pa3yineeTca, 
TaKxe o6pecTH co6cTBeHHoe opnrHHajibHoe jihh,o. 
MHorne H3BecTHbie xyAoacHHUbi HeAaBHero Bpe- wte- 
hh, Taxne, KaK Cio3aHHa BajiaAOH, Ilayjia MoAepcoH- 
BeKKep, KeT3 KojibBHH hjih JIyn3a HeBejibcoH, bh- 
hijih H3 HeapTHCTHwcKOH cpeAH, ho b to xce BpeMil 
MHorne xyAoacHHiiH hoboto h HOBeHinero BpeMeHH bh- 
xoahjih 3aMy»c 3a Kojuier. 

HHTepecHo 6bijio 6h BbiacHHTb Ty pojib b (popMHpo- 
saHHH XKeHoiHH-npocpeccHOHajiOB, KOTopyio HrpajiH 
CHHCxoAHTejibHbie OTU.H, HHorAa Aaace noompaBuiHe 
HHTepecbi Aoyepeft. HanpHMep, KsTe Koai>bhu, h Bap- 
6apa XenyopT CBHAeTejibCTByiOT o bjihshhh cbohx ot- 
HOb, KOTopbie couyBCTBOBajiH AoyepaM h noAAep^KHBa- 

JIH HX yCHJIHfl B 06jiaCTH HCKyCCTBa. B OTCyTCTBHe TOM- 

hmx flaHHbix, MoacHo jiHiub co6paTb cjiyyaHHbie cBeAe- 
HHa o tom, HMeji hjih He HMeji MecTa 6yHT npoTHB po- 
AHTejibCKoro aBTopHTeTa cpeAH xeHinHH -xyAOXHHii;, 

H C HbCVL CTOpOHbl - MyXIHH HJIH aceHIHHH - 3TOT 6yHT 

6bui 6ojiee peniHTejibHbiM. OAHaKo scho oaho: ajhi to- 
ro, MTo6bi xeHmHHa Bbi6pajia AJia ce6a nyTb npocpec- 
CHOHajibHoii fleaTejibHOCTH, He roBopa y»ce o npocpec- 

CHOHaJIbHOH pa60Te B HCKyCCTBe, Heo6xOAHMO 6bUIO 

o6jiaAaTb H3BecTHoii AOJieii cmcjiocth. TaK 6wjio paHb- 
uie, Tax ocTaeTca h cen^ac. He3aBHCHMO ot toto, boc- 
CTaeT jih 2<eHHiHHa-xyA0>KHHHa npoTHB CBoen ceMbH 
hjih HaxoAHT b Hen noAAepacKy, oHa Bee paBHo aoji>k- 
Ha omymaTb b ce6e roTOBHOCTb k 6yHTy , 6e3 nero en 
He npoSnTb ce6e Aopory b MHpe HCKyccTBa, ho hh b ko- 
eM cnyiae He CMHpaTbca c pojibio xceHbi h MaTepn, 
eAHHCTBeHHOH pojibio, KOTopyio aBTOMaTHnecKH npeA- 
nHCHBaeT eii jho6oh o6m;ecTBeHHbiH HHCTHTyT. 3CeH- 
mHHbi Ao6HBajiHCb h npoAOJixcaioT Ao6HBaTbca ycnexa 
b HCKyccTBe TOjibKO TorAa, KorAa ohh ycBaHBaiOT, He 
npH3HaBaacb b stom, h Hcnojib3yiOT ce6e bo 6jiaro 
"MyaccKHe" CBoiicTBa - HejieycrpeMjieHHOCTb, cocpeAO- 
ToyeHHocTb, ynopcTBo h caMooTAa*iy. M 

IleiaTaeTCH c pa3pemeHna airropa. 
IlepeBOfl c aHniHMCKoro 



Heresies/idiomA 43 




Power and the Magic of Writing 



Irina Sandomfrskaya 



Editor's note: The following essay was written and 
translated within the U.S.S.R. and then mildly edited 
here in the U.S. to make it more readily assimilable 
by Heresies' readers. In addition, Jo Anna Isaak, 
who wrote the introductory essay for this issue, sent 
the author a series of questions about the original 
manuscript, and we found Irina's answers so 
personable and informative that we have included 
them, unedited, as notes. 



Language is an efficient tool of power. 
The power of the word is exercised in poetry, 
in advertising, in politics, and in everyday 
interpersonal relations. Linguistic theory can 
either clarify the situation, thus performing 
a liberational function, or it can intentionally 
obscure the relationship of language to power, 
thus becoming a kind of esoteric discipline 
and promoting a magical conditioning of 
the mind. Both possibilities are directly related 
to ideology. 

The mystique of naming, due to its divine 
origin, is boundless. No less boundless are 



A3 da 6yKu - u ecu naym 

A3 da 6yKU He U36aesim oni Myn 

Il0CJl06Ull,bl pyCCKOZO nai 



SI '3 



L31.IK -MOIIIIIMII HlllTpy.lOll! C0- 

ii.iui.ii.noii B. : iaein. !):i:icii. imoi: - ! 

NKlHIinyTlflTIIRHO IICnO.lbSVeTCSl MP. 

iieoni'ieu-.nx npmt.a;e,ieiin ix, m. 
peKjiawe, 11 b no/niTiike, » unpaK- 
niiie c;i.v.viiicniii.[\ ml;i.. : ih'ijuvi- 
iiia onioLiicimii. Teopiri ■i..i.m.;i 
11.111 npoHCHneT 3to no.'io:KCH'ne, ; 

IVM CIlMblM CipCMlICl. HMIKUUinii 
lH'HOlHVlHTi'.il>ll\ in <|>yiiKinn.i. H- 11! 
HaoGopoT. naMcpenHO 3areMHa- . ■: 
iT.ciaiiomiRvi pajiioi'.n.iMiViMO 

330TepiI4CCK0r0 3naHiiu,cnocoDCT- h 

uyeT ManiMecKOMV bojAl'i^™ 1110 . j 
a-jbiKa Ha eosnamie. Bee aw HMeer.; 
HcnocpeacTBCHHoe othoilk'huc k ■ •■; 

Mhcthmcckoc OTHOlUeHlie K HM^ 
hii, CBiisanHoe c ero ooxecvBCH- , : ; 
hbim npiicxoauunu-M (bi>' 
THe:19,20). n name „peu.uiipHU3- 
eTCH. O.niaKO 11a ;ie;ie eo..euK^ ; 

MaccoBoeouiianiu'iuuiiiii" 110 "" ; 
k fl3bi K y oraimaen -n i-P :ii, "" M Jl 

paU,H0HajIH3M0M. COBeTCKHH ^ 

BeK He HMeeT iiphbhikh Bay* 1 j 



^v 



I '■: 



44 Heresies/idiomA 



ral -.\ 



i e $ll ^ 



j«§» 



M^ 



saTtCH b 3HaqeHHe HMeHH, oco6en- 

HOCCJIH 3T0 HMH CnyCKaeTCfl "CBep- 

xy" AiipeKTHBHHM yKa3aHneM. Be- 
pa b MucraqecKJie CBoiicTBa 3H3Ka 
BiiameM o6mecTBe HeorpaHiiyeH- 
na; HeorpammenHM n bo3mojkho- 
ciHMaHiinyjiflu,HH cjiobcchbim 3Ha- 

KOMCOCTOpOHM BJiaCTH. 

MarH3 5i3HKa, oco6chho Mania 
niiCfcueHHocTH, Bcerfla 6wjia npepo- 
taTHBOHTafiHoro 3HaiiHsr (Bezpme- 
ttiicyyeHHH, nucparopeiiCKasi iuko- 
/ia, KaG6a^H3M) . B cobctckom 06- 

mCCTBe^yHKmill TaHHOBCfleHMH 

■ B3iwaHa ce6si TeopeTHMecxaa ;innr- 

m-Ulka, flOCTMXCHM KOTOpOH He 

»38ecTHHm Kp0KHM M accaM w hc 

-JPHHaTH 06H fl eHHHM co3HanneM. 
WKosHamie nmer cboh cpmiococp- 
^Ka M e Hb ,Ha fl e>KHoyKpMB- 
^'•OTnpocpaHOB sa okhkhwmh 

^PuayecKHMH nOCTpoeHH5IMH. 

PM3H «r CTHMeCKHe MfleH He non y ji51 - 

^Miyioica. BoKpyr si3BiK03HaHHs 
una*' ' I3CI> Me P TBaa 3 OHa Mojraa- 

UL10v^ 3yjIBTaT TOr °' yT0 B n P°- 
B P-Mn ° BeTCKaa -KHHrBHCTRKa BCC 

Jlh ^oflHjiact b onacHofi 6w- 
'Pctin ?J P fleojIon wecKOM 6opb6bi 

UC1IK n POTHB aHTHMappH- 



the possibilities for manipulating the word on 
behalf of the structures of power. While the 
magic of language, especially that of writing, 
has always been the prerogative of arcane 
knowledge, such as Vedic teaching or the 
Kabbala, in Soviet society these functions are 
performed by language theory. 

The Soviet mass individual never questions 
the meaning of words, especially when the 
word serves as a directive. Nor are the 
achievements of language theory popularized, 
its metalanguage being too involved for the 
layperson. Yet if language is power, then 
language theory can correctly be defined as the 
theory of power, and as such it has been 
involved in a very complicated relationship with 
politics during the entire history of the U.S.S.R.. 
Though theoretical controversies waged within 
Soviet linguistics since the beginning of the 
totalitarian era have always had a strong 
political coloring, it is only very recently that the 
association between language and power has 
been brought out, as a result of the 
development of linguistic pragmatics and 
cognitive studies. Numerous semiprofessional 
inquiries into Lingua Sovetica as a language of 
totalitarian oppression have often been 
inconclusive, due to the lack of a relevant 
critical paradigm. 



Heresies/idiomA 45 



: -MS 



'-v-->:f r ;.-; -;sjf ?J 

J*"-". ■- - - -"(\ l *i 



as 



N 







HHMHMp 

'<■/'■'■. >\ : ■ ■ '! ' '.'-v 




|^1 



f w 






Hi 










c 



In the present essay I would like to analyze 
two matters that in fact lie at the outskirts of 
language theory: the role played by a new 
perestroika icon — the Russian letter b — in 
the transformation of gender as a category of 
totalitarian thinking as well as the pragmatic 
context of a symbol under totalitarianism. 
There is a rich history of Russian writing reform 
that goes back to the nineteenth century, and 
the reforms prepared by Russian liberational 
thinkers and effected by the Bolsheviks in 
1917-18 reflect the development from 
prerevolutionary to postrevolutionary ideologies, 
a new distribution of ideologems among the 
sociopolitical discourses produced by different 
social classes and strata. 



HpHHa KyKCHHHTe 
Irina Kuksinite, Twins, or Kiss on 
the Cheeks, o/c collage, 1991. 
Photo: Susan Unterberg. 



ctob, crajiHHCKaa AHCKy< ^ ,,., p 

K03H3HHH, HaKOHeu., XlOmTin^' 

cicne roHeHHH Ha cptuiojioroB ' 
AeMJwecKOHcpefle, yc 1WMB11] '** 
noc;ie co6mthh 1968 ro fla h Mh 
Apyroe). 0r0i; 

JlHuib b noaieAHHe ro^i, B C8 
3H c "pa3peiueHHeM" b CCCp T "" 

PHH a3BIKOBOH nparwaTHKH H Kor" 
HHTHBHOH JIHHrBHCTHKH, l|.i\ t a Q r, 

pamaeTC5i k BonpocaM cooTnome " 

HH5I H3BIK3 H B^aCTH, 5.3MK3 M MflL 

jioran. KpoMe toto, Ha Bcume Wac . 
hocth noaBjiaioTca ncnynpocpecai" 
OHajibHwe HcoieAOBaHns Lingua 
Sovetica Kaic a3HKa TOTajiHTapHoro 
rocyflapcTBeHHorono«aBjieHHH.3 a . 
nacryio hm He«ocTaeT noaiewrea- 
TejibHOCTH - to jih no npimuHe ot- 
cyTCTBHa ninpoKOH Ky^bTypojiom-" 
^ecKOH napaAHrMH, to.ihih- ,a ' 
npeHe6pe>KeHH5[ CKOMnpoMerapo- 

BaHHblMH B CCCP MCTH l.IMn coim- 

ajibHoro aHa;iH3a. 

ripo6^eMa, KOTopasi HHTepccyer- 
MeHa, ^e>KHT Ha nepn(pepnn jinnr- 

BHCTHMeCKOH TeopHH. MHe XOTe- 

jiocb 6m Ha npHMepe oahoh m 
bhobb o6pa30BaBiHHxcsi hkoh ncpe-' 

CTpOHKH - 6yKBM "V - npOCJICAUTIi 

TpaHctpopMaHHK) KaTeropHHpoflaB 

TOTa^HTapHOM C03HaHHH H BUHC- 
HHTb TOT KOHTeKCT, KOTOptW CO- - 

CTaBjiaeT nparMaTHKy si3WKOEoro 
3HaKa b ycjiOBHstx HAeoKorHMecKO- 
ro noAaBjieHHa. Ha hctophh pe<J»p- 
mh pyccKoro npaBomicaHnsi - ee 
HAeororHHecKHX h KJiaccoi:H\ 
npeAnocbuiOK, 6opb6bi 3a ec ocymc- 
CTBJieHHeHo6iu;ecTBCiiiii»!. iiiv."ci- 

CTBH3 - MHe XOTejIOCb 6m noKa- 

3aTb, yTo coBeTCKyro AHCKypciiio 

BJiaCTH HHKaK HejIb35I Ha3BaTIi 

"cxaMKOM" no cpaBHeHHio c Hfleo^o- 

FH5IMH AOpeBOJIIOUHOHHOrO nCpHO- 

Aa, h ^HHib npeAy6ejK«eHHc Mcuia- 
eT Hawt paccMOTpeTb hctokh Lingua 
Sovetica b MHororojiocoin o6me- 
CTBeHHO-no^HTHiecKOM AHaJiore 
Pocchh XIX Beica. He aieflyeT 06- 
MaHbiBaTbca Ha cmct oxb3thbi 
o6mecTBo HOCTajibraH no crap 
Ao6pwM BpeMeHaM: OKT5i6pi>cKafl 

peBOJlIOUHS He 5IBH^aCb 1 1 1 1 1 P' 1 

;iHMbiM 6apbepoM ana miio.o'iuc- 
jieHHbix KJiaccoBO-opneHTHponaH- 
hhx HAeo^oreM, Bwpa6oTaHHM« 
pyccKoii MbiaibK). Ckopl-c i .' mo»'- 
HO CpaBHHTb c npoHHuaeMOJi mc m .' 
paHoii, KOTopaa noMOTiwa ox« ' 
nneojioreMH, H3MeHH^a hx ctp) > 
Typy h HanpaB^eHHOCTb h no-«o ^ 



46 Heresies/idiomA 



H3N- 

ivca- 

3roe 

:bsi- 

co- 

or- 

loCi- 

jj- 

■uco- 

•Jiac- 

:ccn- 

Ja 

■noro 

i. 3a-'- ; 

ma- 

:ot- 

10m- 

3a 

ipo- 

:ou.n- 

ecyeT 

IHIU- 

'TC- 

nepc- 
efliiTb 
poaa b 
»iac- 
co- ■ 
■noro ■ 
iecK0- 
petfiop- 
-ee 

IX 

ocymc- 
iooicj- 
Ka-.; 

ICIIKJ 

n- ..' 
wcoiio- ; 
nepno; 
Meuia- 
Lingu' I 

wore. ■ 
; cto6- 

IBUJCil 

apuM 

Bill 
ipeoao- "I 

poBan- 

1H ux ■< 

'■^} ■■':'■■:] 
'dff 



paC npeAe/in/ia mokav pa3JinM- 

yjvfPlCAOSIMH o6meCTBa. MOflCilb 

: T oro HOBoro pacnpeaejiemiii fl.nsi 
j,acnoKa ocTae-rcsi hcsichoh. 

3MAHCMnMPOBAHHA5I 
OPOOrPAOPifl 
;R 1917-18 roflax 6ojibujeBHCTCKoe 

nnaBHT&nbCTBO, BJiaCTb KOTOpOTO 

lliCHTHa BOJiocKe, BbinycKaeT "X[e- 
KpcT o BBesemiH hoboh opcporpa- 
^i)iiii""B uejiax o6;ierijeHH5i mnpo- 
KiiMMaccaM ycBoenHsi pyccKOi'i roa- 

M 0TI)IHOCBo6oXAeHHSl IJJKO/Ibi OT 

nenpoii3BOflHTejii>Horo Tpyaa". 3to 

g(0aKT,'CHMBOJIH3HpOBaBUJHH ne- 
pCBOflPVCCKOM KyXIbTJ'pM 1-13 HOBB1C 

lyiaccoBtie no3nuiin, aAanTauino 
eeucHHOCTew k itotpcGhoctsim h 

B03MOMOCTSIM no6eAHBLU)IX "llJH- 

poKHXMacc". B ero nepBOM nynKTe 
npoB03raauiajiacb OTNiena "jihih- 

HHX"6yKB - H>KHU,bI, (j)HTbl, SITb, i H 

TBepfloro 3naKa na kohu,c c/iOBa. 
KaKiie co6wth5i npeAuiecTBOBa.nn 

STOMy aKTy? 

ByKBa'V 6bijia 3aviMCTB0Bana 
H3'npeflKa coBpeMennoro pyccKoro 

fl3HKa - UCpKOBHO- aiaBSlHCKOrO. 
ElUCBIJiepKOBHO-C/iaBSlHCKOM OH 

•yTpanui CBoe o6o3naMaeMoe - ca- 
MOCroaTe^tHhiH nnacuMH 3bvk, 
snoaneHCTBHH nepeiuewuHH "b bc- 
^cnne"6yKBbi "o". '"b" ("epii") 
- ynoTp_e6jisrjicfl Ha KOHu,e cnoBa, 
t.k. nonpaBHJiaM cjiobo ne Morvio 

0KaH4HB3TBC5I Ha COIViaCHblH 3ByK 

(oyKBy). KpoMe Toro, TBepAMii 

3H3K, yKa3MBaBUJHH, B OTJllIMHC OT 

MarKoro, Ha TBepAoe npoi-oHCce- 
mie npeAHAymero coiviacHoro, KaK 
«MarKHH3HaK, ynoTpe6^5ijic5i una. 
(frflWeHHa mob npn cjihthom hx 
"aniiciHiui. 
, ;.B W>peBojiKmnoHHOM jim-epa- 

;' fyPHOM pycCKOM H3HKe TBCpAblH 

, .aWKHaKOHije aioBa 6hji (pop- 
«aai>HHMnoKa3aTe^eM NtyxcKoro 
^."' ^ ayHM aa onno3HUHa 6vkb 
' a : o" KaK OKOHqaHHii iny>K- 
£to°' XeHCKOro H cpeAHero poaob, 
WBerciBeHHo, 3a K penjisuiacb b 
:' ,MlI »KHocHTejieHa3HKa 
-■ W'lHbiMHrpaMMaTHKaMn; 3T a 
i'.^ H,Wl1 6hvia aKTyajibHa h ajis 

>ta Bl Ma ™ K Ha y HHHX . npoTHBono- 
'■ - SBffiHx CBoft noAXOfl ynpo _ ■ 

'■ lLn,: :-nep Bb ix. 

}tct'- C " k ' BMe or;iacoBK H - T.C OT- 




AjieKCaHflpa ZleMeHTbeBa 
Alexandra Dementieva, cover for 
book by Lef Khrutsky documenting 
the connections between the Mafia 
and members of the Central 
Committee of the Communist party. 



H % „ B ' le * 0HeM w (3 B y K a) K aK 03- 
;_;,, oro ^HTBepAoro3HaKa- 



Ecriture Emancipee 

It may seem odd that one of the earliest 
decrees of the Bolsheviks in the fall of 1917 
should have been concerned with such an 
unimportant matter as spelling. The new 
government, whose power was still very 
unstable, issued "The Decree on the 
Introduction of a New Orthography," the stated 
aim of which was "to facilitate the access of 
broad masses to literacy as well as to liberate 
schools from waste of labor." This action 
symbolized the transfer of Russian culture to a 
new class position: the adaptation of its 
treasures to the needs and possibilities of the 
victorious proletarian masses. The decree's 
first article proclaimed the abolition of five 
letters as "superfluous," among which was the 
letter t, or yer, at the end of masculine names. 

Yer — now called tverdy znak — was 
borrowed by the Russian language from its 
immediate predecessor, Old Slavonic, although 
even prior to the Old Slavonic period the letter 
had lost its signified, a special phoneme that 
was later designated by another letter, 0. 
h was preserved at the end of a word because, 



Heresies/idiomA 47 



according to the rules, all words were to have a 
vowel letter at the end. Besides, in a string of 
written symbols it functioned to create divisions 
between words. 

In prerevolutionary Russian, yer at the end 
of the word served as a marker of the 
masculine gender. The opposition of the 
letters b, a, and o as morphological flexions for 
masculine, feminine, and neuter, respectively, 
was confirmed by school grammars and also, 
though not in the same oversimplified manner, 
by scientific grammar. The association of 
b/a/o with the cognitive metaphor of gender 
was very close. But in terms of common sense 
the status of 6 as a mute letter rendered it 
somewhat dubious, and as a marker it was 
obviously excessive. The ideological 
connotations were what aroused so much 
controversy: throughout the nineteenth century 
the question of whether to include or to omit 
tverdy znak at the end of a word was strongly 
colored by liberational attitudes. 

It should be borne in mind that Old 
Slavonic was a canonical language that used a 
modified Greek alphabet, which had been 
acquired with the Baptism of Rus in the tenth 
century under the centuries-long influence of 
Byzantium. It was due to the sacred tradition 
that this alphabet was preserved; on the whole, 
all religions are characterized by the 
sacralization of writing — the Holy Writ — 
initially observed in pagan cults. The magic of 
a letter is ascribed to its divine origin. Chinese 
writing is thus believed to have been created by 
the god Tzan-tze; Indian writing, by Brahma; 
Arabian was a revelation to Mohammed by 
Allah. During the so-called Dark Ages, Latin and 
Greek alphabets were treated in Christian 
esoteric teachings as ideographies of the 
greatest myths, signifying Microcosm and 
Macrocosm, which can be attributed to the 
influence of the Kabbala. The Age of 
Enlightenment brought this tradition to an end, 
yet even in recent times there have been 
examples of magical manipulation with letters, 
as for instance in 1910, in the consecration 
rites for Westminster Cathedral. 

State power in the Russian empire, which 
included the Church in its structure, was very 
much on guard against encroachments on the 
spelling tradition. As the norms of Russian 
language were being codified, spelling was 
beginning to acquire more and more political 
and ideological connotations. "Orthographic 
freethinking" became a commonplace in 
nineteenth-century Russian liberal-democratic 
discourse. The intelligentsia were constantly 
coming out with suggestions for writing reform, 
and £> was under attack more than any of the 
other obsolete forms. 

48 Heresies/idiomA 



"In prerevolutionary 

Russian, yer at the end 

of the word served 

as a marker of the 

masculine gender." 



eme ao era ynpa3flHenna b 1 9 1 7 
Ay flejiajio CTaTyc stoh Gy^ co* 10 ' 

MHHT.ejIbHHM C TOyKH 3peHHS 3 " 

Boro CMbicjia. KaK Mop^ojiorime^* 
ckhh noKa3aTejib oh 6bm mho 
6htomch. TeM He Menee, wnenim* 
BOKpyr 3toh 6yicBH, a He np i I1!x 
"jihiuhhx" 6yKB pyccKoro si 3WKa 
pa3BepHyjiacb HaH6anee ynopua'a 
6opi>6a. 3to 6hji Bonpoc iie ain'i,. 
a^bHO-JiHHrBHCTHHeckiui. iiarvgo 
HfleojiorayecKHH. 

GneflyeT noMHHTb, veto uepKog- 

HO-OiaBaHCKHH H3BIK 6bUI KaHOHH. 
MeCKHM SI3HKOM npaBOCJUiilkllo fy. 

roaiyxeHHH. Cboh ajicpaBirr on 3a- 
HMCTBOBaji H3 rpeyec 1.01 1: iv- 
3yjibTaTe KpemeHHHH,-i.iiu v .v !1 , 110 . 

TO BH3aHTHHCKOrO BJII1 HIU'I. Ho ■ 
CB5IIHCHH0H TpaflHHHH 1 1 L-puiBIIO- 

CJiaBHHCKaa a36yica 0CTai;a:i;ici, hc- 

H3MeHHOH. 

B Pocchhckoh HMnepmi rocy- 

AapcTBeHHaa B^acTb, BKJiioHHBuias 
b cbok) CTpyKTypy h BJiacrb u.ep- 
KOBHyio, 6flHTejibHo CToajia Ha ox- 
paHenpaBonHcaTejibiiNN ip;,;m- 
uhh. ITpaBonHcaHHe npno6peTa.ro 
Bee 6ojn>me Hfleojioni'iLVKiix i: no.i- 

HTHUeCKHX KOHHOTaiUTO, H3THTCH- 

fleHHHH yKpeiuisuracb no Mepe era- . 

HOBJieHHS K0flH(pHH,Hpi'i;;i|l!Ii1li 

HopMW pyccKoro H3Hi:a. 15 XIX n;- 
Ke o6hj,hm inecTOM ;in6epa;ibH0-ie-. 
MOKpaTHiecKoro flHcicypca crano- 
BHTca "opcporpacpHuecKoe BOJibHO- - 

flyMCTBO" - nonblTKH BBCfleHHH HH- 

AHBHflya^bHOH opcporpa(|)nii cocto- 

POHM KpHTHUeCKH Ha< I piYIIHMX 

npeflCTaBHTe^en HHTejiJiHreHiyni. 
B Pocchh H flO XIX .vua (UCII 
pecpopMbi npaBonHcaiin:i. n 'lacnio- 
cth, ynpa3flHeHH5i"j]n!iiiiiix"6yK[', 

B03HHK3JIH Ha BOJIHe Ol'I.000,lH- 

TejibHbix Haeii. ITpeortpa.ioiai pyo 
ckhh ajicpaBHT, yflajinr. im unoTpii 
6vkbh, IleTp I. Hflen n^pciciKH 
a^cpaBHTa h npaBonncanHa bbwbji-. 
vajm M.B.JIomohocob ii U.K.TpM"* 



ai3Hii 

'DHOfO 



aKOBCKHH. OflHaKO IipH MX 

Hopivra pyccKoro jiHTepaTj 
5i3biKa eme He 6bwa yc 1:11 om"'- 
nieiica h He Boroioma. m » l " ct ^ c " 1 " 
BOJia penpeccHBHOH ro<.\,ul* :T,,cH ' 
hoh B^ac™. B XIX Ben- jrariww 
jiman o-nyyaeT 3aKpenjien"^ aK 
KOHuy crojieTHa MaHHaKaJi 



e>hw» .; 



opcporpacpHHecrai n 1 1 1 1 vo i tfi a : 

TH3M OflHHOMeK H.l'l.l M l'^ a "' ' 
flHT CO^HflHOe H3> MI101* oiv*«o u 



HHe. 



r Havana XIX Bexa cKJiaabiBae-r- 
■" • u enafl 6n6j»iorpacpna HerpaaH- 
C (oHHoro npaBonnca/- hhsi. IloHa- 

nV 3TO 6bJjm pa3HOBHflHOCTH HH- 

M ' lBim ya/ibHoro npaBonncannM c 

S MWMM pa3H06pa3HMMH KOm6hH3- 
H5IMH HOBOBBeflemiH. C HCn0^b30- 

afl neM HHflHBiwyajibHOM op(porpa- 
rii'iiif, no BOJie aBTopoB, neyaTaioT- 
canpoH3BeaeHHsi ,ELH.5J3biK0Ba, 
"una Ha 3aianoyeHHe Mupa c roTa- 

iii''H. ( 5-3 MHHa ' cowHHeHwi Maco- 
HCKoroTOJiKa. KaK h b nocneAyro- 
uiiix, 6oJiee cHCTeMaraqecKHx aK- 
"i§ax;''op(porpa(pHqecKoro bo/ibho- 

' ijWlCTBa" (TepMHH TOrO BpCMCHH) , 

jnoflaB^aromeM 6ojibiiiHHCTBe 
n p eflJ iaraeMbie paHHHMM aBTopaMM 
cucTeMH BK/iKmaioT b ceSsi T.H. 
'fowpoBoe nwcbMo" - onymeirae 
TBepfloro 3H3Ka nocrce TBepaon co- 
r^iacHOHHa KOHU,e croBa. Bymr 
npo'THB TpasHU,noHajiii3Ma b npaBo- 
nucaHHH b aajibHeiiiueM KOnueHT- 
piipyeTca b Kpyrax yMeHbix - ecre- 
crueHHHKOB. LT,ejiMH psifl pa6oT no 
Me/n«mHe, cyfle6noii nciixnaTpnn, 
ncHxojionw neHaTaiOTCsi b ciictcmc 
fotepoBoro nucbMa. 3a'reM npitco- 
ejHHaK)TC5i neflarortmecKHe Kpyni, 
HCTopiiKH. HaKOHeu, noBCTpiie op- 
(jjorpaqpimecKoro BOJibHoayMCTBa 
cxsaraiBaeT h cpujiojiorimecKHe na- 
-yKii. TaK, HanpHinep, 6e3 "epa" ne- 
'WTaiOTB 1879-80 rofly >Kypna;i 
"PyccKHH ({mjiononmecKmi BecT- 
hii'k". B aajibHeftraeM, k Konuy 

1880 ro^a, TBepabni 3naK B03Bpa- 
maeTca Ha CBoe mccto b neaarorn- 
MecKOM pa3«e^e "Bec-ranKa". C 

1881 ro^a TBepflbiJi 3HaK bocct3- 
HatyiiiBaeTCtf h Ha THTy^bHOM ;ihc- 
TCXypHa^a, a 6e3tepoBoe niicbMO 

C0XpaH5ieTC5IJIHlHb B OTflejIbHMX 

paooTaxH, no-BHflHMOMy, no oco- 
TOMy HacToaHHio aBTopoB (Hanpn- 
*<ep, cpmiojioroB P.O.BpaHflTa h H. 
,A;Bofly3HafleKyp T eH3). 

B3nH3o«e c "PyccKHM cpHjiojio- 
WleCKHM "BeCTHHKOM", no-BJian- 

^OMy, OTo6pa3H^ncb nepHneraH 

"ecroflj, yx OTflajienHbix ot Hero 

"»fleMomTCCKHx cpajKeHHH. KaK 

JbIT0HH 6bIJIO, HMCHHO B 3T0 Bpe- 

«aiiMnepc K j ie B/racTit BbinycKaiOT 
.HKaatHHH UHpKyjiap, 3anpema- 
"Wh ynoTpe6^reHne 6e3i>epoBoro 

«*Ma B 0(pHUHa^bHMX npOUICHH- 

^"flOKyMeHxax, aiamB 



MapHH CepeSpHKOBa 
Maria Serebriakova, 
untitled collage, m/m, 1989. 




"IKO.n 



p HWx H CTyaenqecKHx pa6o- 
CaMWM optporpacpusi 6m- 



The phenomenon of the politicization of 
spelling is, by the way, a normal thing. Spelling 
rules, imposed through dogmatic teaching in 
school, are one of the first manifestations of a 
codified social norm, an early case of social 
oppression. Spelling rules seem unmotivated 
by rational considerations, only by those of a 
social rite. Teaching correct spelling is to some 
extent teaching desirable social behavior. 

Long before the nineteenth century, ideas 
of writing reform accompanied libertarian 
discourse in Russia. Peter the Great, the 
greatest reformist of patriarchal Rus, changed 
the Russian alphabet by eliminating three 
"superfluous" letters. Ideas of alphabet and 
spelling reform were put forward by 
Enlightenment leaders such as Vassily 
Trediakovsky and Mikhail Lomonosov, even 



Heresies/idiomA 49 




though the codification of the Russian language 
had not yet gone so far as to symbolize the 
repressive power of the state. By the end of 
the nineteenth century, however, orthographic 
protest was no longer a maniacal obsession 
but a scientifically based liberational ideology 
shared by all progressive-minded people. 

In the book Obzor predlozhenii po 
usovershenstvovaniyu russkoi orfografii ("A 
Review of Suggestions on the Improvement of 
Russian Writing"), published in Moscow in 
1965, we find a bibliography of prerevolutionary 
Russian works that use unconventional 
spelling. Initially such works use individual 
systems of writing incorporating various 
combinations of innovations, and it is rather 
difficult to systematize them. Some are poetry, 
some are translations, one is a treatise on the 
occult. Yet despite the differences in 
approach, all these individual systems are 
united in their omission of the letter I>. By the 
late 1840s the revolt against traditionalism in 
spelling shifts its epicenter to the natural 
sciences. A number of research papers in 
medicine and psychology are edited in the non- 
b system of writing. Then the movement is 
joined by historians and theorists of teaching 
methods. Finally orthographic freethinking 
spreads among philologists: in 1879-80 the 
philological journal Russkii filologicheskii 
vestnik is edited without i> at the ends of 
words. The political climate soon changes, it 
seems, and the letter returns to where it 
belongs in the journal's pedagogical papers: 
from 1881 on, i. is restored on the front page 



Mafia XjioGhcthh 

Maya Khlobystin, Patriotic Alphabet, 

1988. Photo: Susan Unterberg. 



na 3aK0H0flaTe^bH0 o6o3nancna • 
KaK o6jiacn> 6opb6bi 3;i ii.-i.u-ii., « 
nfleo;iorH3au,HS[ h nojiHTH3aii,n h 
nojiyyujiH MaHHcpecrabTH xapax- 
Tep. IIpH3HaKn o^iepeziHoro noji- 
HTHuecKoro noxojioflaHHsi - bo3- 
BpaT k "npaBEMbHOMy" npaBonnca- 
hhk>- He aiy^aHHO nposiiwjmci. 
HMeHHo b ne^arorHuecKOM pa3flc- 
jie, nocicojibKy uiKOJibnast Hayxa b 
Pocchh Bcer.ua 6mia oco6cmio <jyn- 

CTBHTCribHa K HaCTpOCHHSIM H3- 

yajibCTBa. 

BnocneflCTBHH (pHJianonia ne ot- 
Ka3a^acb ot 6e3tepoBoro nucbMa b 
cneitHa^bHbix -rpyflax, aiOBapax, 
cnpaBOMHHKax. B o6mecTBC xe 
HfleojiorH^ecKHe kohho i au.m np- 
BonHcaHHa cra;ra omymaTiica Bce- 

MH, OHO CTajIO oco6wm npH3HaK0M 

nporpeccHCTCKOH jm6epajir>H0H , , 
npeccbi, ee cBoeo6pa3HMM ctjuih- 
CTH^ecKHM npneMOM. il.uipii v -P- B 
TeqeHHH iisith MecaueB 1911-12 rt- 
fla 6e3 TBepflbix SHaKOB bmxcmiui?. 
ry6epHCKaa "TBepcKaa ra3CTa", . 

Hfleo^ora'-iecKHe KOHHOTauim 
TBepfloro 3HaKa 3aoioHiwHero 
(pyHKHHH03Hayarom(-i-o m\;-'-ckoio 
poaa. Oia6bie B03paa<cHH5i npoM 8 ;. 

HHKOB ero OTMeHbl, yKa3MBaBUJHX . 
Ha OnaCHOCTb-TOMKHIICIopii'lrtK" 
CJIOXHBUieHCSI CHCTCMH MOpC^ 10 ' 

raiiecKHx Ka-reropHH, oTMeTaJiM* 
KaK HecocToaTe^bHwe h, nnaBHO . 
peaKUHOHHwe. "BpeMaHCTOpH" 



50 Heresies/idiomA 



. Ail! 



Ha 
•>, ec 

(1ST 

3K- 
OJI- ■ 
33- .: 

niica- 
ci> 

,3flC- 
1MB 
DMyB- 

:a- ■ . 

'hgot- ; 
bMaB i 
pax, 
kc ' 
inpa- 

fl BCCr i 

iai:bK 

OH' -.: 

iijm- 

-l2ro- J 

jaiiiia. : 

;a • ■;'■'; 

jKCKOW 
jpOTII*/ 
BUJHX 
(yeCKH ! 
JKJflO.--.- 

piiK 




(M.OyKo), CKOHueHTpi-ipoBaHHoe b 
3T0ii 6yKBe, Tsirorajio cboch He- 
{jjywcinioHajib- hoctho, 6ecnojie3- 

HlXTbK). 

. -fla^eKasioTno^HTHKH, mhcto 
liayiHasi KpHTHKa no y3Ko-cnenn- 
• MbHOMy (pHjio;iorH- MecKOMy Bon- 
pocy - iracaxb vum hc nucaTb TBep- 
Stiii 3HaK Ha KOHu,e cjioBa - CTaHo- 
ttiicacoBepmeHHo npo3paMnoft 
Wis HfleojiorHMecKoii nponaraHflw: 

"3THMHaiDHM BOCnHTaTCJISIM, ACH- 
CTByiOmHM C 0fl06pCHH5I aBTOpiITeT- 
HMXBraCTeH, MM o6si3aHW SlflOM, 

wpaBraiom;HM Hame MwrnjieHiie 

HCTOJIbKO no MaCTH 5I3MK3, HO Ii BO- 

.WWe", - nmiieT 6jiecTamnH jiHHr- 
McrBoflyaHfle KypTena, nwe5i b 

-•*»flynpoTHBHHKOB pecpopMM npa- 

-MifflcaHHH. 3to "h Boo6me" y Bo- 
jy3Ha3HaMHTMHoroe. Oh nocjiejrp- 

- Jai ^i6HbiH fleMoicpaT, y6excAeH- 

^SfiCTOpOHHHK CB060flH JIHMHO- 
»'|He3aBHCHMOCTH HHflHBHfla OT 

.^Pyxaromefi cpe«H, no6opHHK 
' Pap ymeTeHHbTx HannoHajibHbix 

CHMUHHCTB POCCHH, npOTHBHHK 

o-o- ? ™ HaCHJIM - rn6ejib nap- 

^ '< 1 OCCHH HH y KOTO He BH30BCT 

' 'touT 6111151 ' r0B0 P HJI 0H ' He BH « a > 
" Xtx* a' B P eB0JII °u,™ HH^iero, 

; : .« f e(pH3HHeCKH X 6eACTBHH. 

:ai« B Wy ° BOeft Ha y y HOH Konnen- 
iui, . 5 °^ y3H OK a3ajic5i paaHKajib- 

■ ?(era(h PHTHK0M "W^™ 6yKBH" - 
*°P« HMnepcKofi 6ropokpa- 







%4^ 



^$&^J- 









Mafifl XjioShcthh 

Maya Khlobystin, 

American Agricultural Techniques 

at Work(l. Amnand Hammer, 

2. Klim Voroshilor, 3. A. Mikoyan). 

Photo: Susan Unterberg. 



of Filologicheskii vestnik and is omitted in the 
text of articles only on the special insistence of 
the authors. 

The episode with Russkii filologicheskii 
vestnik appears to reflect the contemporary 
political situation — at least it was at that time 
that the tzarist regime issued a special 
instruction prohibiting the use of non-i> writing 
in official documents and petitions as well as 
student essays. Through this document the 
writing controversy was legally defined within 
the framework of power, and the authorities 
proclaimed their right to determine its outcome. 
Spelling became manifest as ideology and 
politics. Subsequently philology did not 
relinquish its own claim on politics, and many 
special editions, including grammar reference 
books and dictionaries, continued to be 
published using unconventional spelling. 
Meanwhile, the ideological connotations of 
tverdy znak became a matter of common, and 
not merely specialized, knowledge: for five 
months during 1911-12, the progressive 
newspaper Tverskaya Gazeta intentionally 
omitted this terminal letter as a stylistic device 
intended to express its liberal political 
orientation. 

The ideological connotations of £> came to 
overshadow its meaning as a masculine 
marker. Among the libertarians were 
philologists who were against its abolition, 
invoking the possible dangers of demolishing a 
historical morphological system — a position 
that would usually be labeled reactionary. The 
burden of history concentrated in this single 



Heresies/idiomA 51 



letter was becoming irritating, since in practice 
the letter was functionally useless. Thus a 
specialized and purely professional critique 
dealing with a narrow philological issue became 
a matter of ideological propaganda. "It is to 
those teachers of ours who act on the approval 
of the authorities that we are indebted for the 
bane that poisons our consciousness, not only 
in matters that refer to language but on the 
whole," wrote the brilliant Russian linguist 
Baudouin de Courtenay concerning adversaries 
of writing reform. His "on the whole" is 



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meaningful, because Baudouin was a 
confirmed democrat, a staunch supporter of 
human rights and freedoms as well as the 
autonomy of the individual, a champion of 
Russia's oppressed national minorities, and an 
enemy to violence. He predicted that the 
collapse of the tzarist regime would make no 
one sorry, though he conceived of revolution as 
only a sequence of hardships. 

It was due to Baudouin's theoretical ideas 



/IiOAMHJia MaKonoBa 

Ludmila Makelova, Self-Portrait After 

Titian, 120x100 cm., 1991. 



THH-HKaKHOCHTejItog^ 
inK<WIBHO-aflMHHHu-|,.n, 1I1 ' i ;j!!" n 



HOHHfleo™rH H .OHno T p: T 7 f l Bc,i " 
ro CIU iHaTo,M T o6 M p a 3 06ji ^««o- 



cxasjieHHe o oioBe KaK cocn "^ 
hom hs 6y KB) paaBcimari, ' ^^ 



Heme nepes nHCbMeHHHM 



tit- 

r 'PtK. 1o . 



■MKpa. 



JIH30B3HHHM, 3a6lOpOKpa TfI 3 Mnn 
BaHHHMCHOBOM. ^'U^p,,,,' 
MB^KOTOpy^OHO.UpH,^™;; 

MonT S eCocc ro pa ) Hoonp C n e Z ,,i ' 



BOMHTOeOTnoCKVUlnX) 



■"C K3K 



CHCTeMHyw,aKaKi.oi.x M oi • 
CKyio,T.e.Bonnoiii l -iii l y, u , 0II „ 
iCHHyro cymHocxt, 6bu,a njI0WM 

He TOKbKO HHOH C|>li;m.- (ll |li!,i S| 3I .. 
Ka, HO H HHOH CpHTOCOCpHIi "h B qq6. 

me". ^pHH^H^(})(^l|.■M, 1 , 1 ^ 1 , l . CKOr^ , 
nncbMa, npewroxeHHuft mm ii np«. 
HstTHH b AeKpeTe petJjopMe npano- 
HHcaHHa nocjie Ok i-.inpi ckoii pen,,. 
.mohhh, noflpbraaji yL-i.iiiom.ii py l 
ckoh opcporpatpHH Ha He3u6Ae- 
moctb 6yKBH, Ha yBci.or.ciiinajiiii: 
"«yxa 6vkbh". 3to Im,i.i;i .iHnepciiii 
nporaB MaraqecKOH chjih, koto- 
pyro yepnajia b "jjy\c m u\k" 
B^acTb. Marna b-tocth oyKBM npo-- 
THBonocTaB^rsuiHCb npuHuiinw «a- 
yyHocTH, otrbeKTHBHocTH, ncuxono- 

TH3Ma. 

B 1904 ro#y Boflyjn no.iivianii.T 
pa6oTy OpLporpa(|iii'u\ koh komhc- 
chh, npHHHBmHH npoeKT pecpopMH 
npaBonncaHHa Ha ii|v.i.'io:-m'hiii,!\ 
hm npHHHHnax. OflHaKo noHaao6n- 

JIHCb OflHH HeyflaBUIHHCX Ii HBa 

yflayHbix rocyflapcTBeHHwx nepcao- 
poTa, npeacfle neu .-m iviiu'iihh 

0Ka33JIHCb peajIH30B;iHllMMH. 

B nopHAKe OTCTyrrjieHHsr, 3aMC- 
thm, mto tot xe ny\ fi/Kr.j i. mu 11 
He oKpanieHHHH hmh, pi v.oi: np-«r- 
MaTHKoii, BoAyaH m ■.u-'i.-i.i 11 nep- 
bhx nosTHyecKHx dill.: M\ 6>.1CT- 
jish, b hx Teopjra "6yKBH KaK TaKO- 

BOH" H "cJIOBa KaK T<:I.OI.OiO". On 

6hm y6e^fleH, ^to hx nonwTKii J 
yBHfleTb b coyeTanHH 6yKB "eyi>i 
"o6HOB^eHHe H3HaawoBaHHoron 
3axBaTaHHoro c^oBa 'jiwjiws -aro 
pe3y^bTaT ^HHib tpiMO/ionwecKOii 
HerpaMOTHoc™. ]V..!.m;'i iipmccT 
Bbi3Bajio y EoflV3i 1.1 c i ih.-m.ich"': 
6yaeraaH cBH3HBaTb c Cn i.w«« T0 ' 
mto mh cen^ac HaswBaeM o6pa3H0- 
accoHnaTHBHOH KapTHHOH Mnpa_ ^ 

npeflTeya crp:- 1. r> p.i.T'-' J,a ' l, °" 
flysH He pacnosHa^i r. n\ m '• aHI1 ^ 
CTpyKTypaJIbHOHTuM'" ,!, • ^ or0p ' v 
6bua HanpaBJieHa 11:1 m'"' '•" oD1 " 



rafic 



52 Heresies/idiomA 



_ a 6o;ieer;iy6iiHHoro, mom o6t- 
eK e roco6cTBeHHOM HccneaoBa- 
t tCKOH mwcjih. Oh ctosui Ha ca- 
T (0opore, ho Tax h ne nepeiuar- 
*' ,, e pe3 Hero. OuemiBas] pa6oxy 
- "'mHHOH hm Ka3ancKoii jiHiirBM- 
1 HqecKOH ihko/ih - nepBoro no 

' ntieHHIO JIHHrBHCTHMeCKOrO TCMC- 

^'^opeBO^rouMOHHoii Pocchh - 
LoTMeMa^ "cTpeMjienwe k pajui- 
K a^bHOMy pa3pyuieHiiio mhojthx 

-rtpblXB033peHHM 6c3 B03MO>KHO- 
CTil^aMeHSITb HX A0CTaT04HMM KO- 
mltieCTBOM HOBblx"... TilKMM o6pa- 

' Qi Ha nepe^OMe cto/icthsi cbsi3i> 
Mewy B/iacTbio rocyaapcTBeHHOH 
HBflacxbio opcporpacpHMCCKnx npa- 
«i0 6huia He iwibKO oco3naHa, ho 
H3aK pen^eHa KaK flOKyMenTaMii 
HMnepcKofi 6K>poKpaTnn, TaK h bh- 
CKa3MBaHH5iMH ee ;ni6epajibHo-.ne- 
M0KpaTH>iecKOH onno3Hu,iin, 6wjia 

OCBSmeHa BHCOKMMH CaHKIJ,H5IMH 

HayKK. KoHHOTau,HH "hoboh" op- 
diorpacpHH riojio>KiiTe.ribHO OKpacn- 
jiiitt 6jiaroaap5i iicKjiioMHTe/ibHWM 

flMHMM KaHCCTBaM CC CTOpOHHH- 
KOB - KpHCTanbHOlI MCCTHOCTH, 

npeManHOCTH MAeajiaM ryMami3Ma, 
HenpusiTHio nacHJiHii. mm Jinmio- 
ctmo. OpcporpacpHMecKoe bojimio- 
flyMCTBO npeBpaTHjiocb b nocjieao- 
BaTe/itHyio, CHCTeMaTJmecKyjo,Ha- 
yynyio Mfleo-normo onno3iiunon- 
iioiiiiHTe^^HreHUHH. 
: CKOMnpoMeTiipoBaHHoe ocpumi- 

aaiiHUMH yCTaHOBKaMH mvbctbo hc- 
Topuii, 3aKHFOMeiiHoe b "reneTime- 
-ckoh" naMJiTH si3biKa, b 3tv uhcojjo- 
nnoHeBOLUjio. 

. Hfleti opcporpacpimecKoro Jin6e- 
pa»i3Ma BoiuiOTHjiHCb nocne Ok- 
THDpbCKOH peBOJirou.nn. Co cropo- 

HMHOBMX nOJIIITMqeCKHX CHJ1 3KT 

OTMeHHCTapoH op^orpacpmi 6i>iji 

"CWMbKO CHMB0J1HMCCKHM - OH nO- 

HCTHHe npoii3Bejj nepejiOM b cra- 
POHKy^bType, b CTapoM co3Haiinn. 

COTBOPEHHE 

TOTAJIHTAPHOrO 
AHflPOrHHA 

tp/^"' 111 KT0 ' mi ^° Toraa OTAaBaji 

*eOWeTB TOM, nOMCMV HOBOH 

acTHnoH a«o6Hjiacb 3Ta Maminy- 

* ^ l3 - n03AHeHLUHe 06lSICHeHHSl 

,' Hli ^ ai0T: ynpasflneHiie "jihui- 
aav P acc MaTpHBacTC5i KaK 

nl X03 SHCTBeHHasi aKUHH, 

_ 03B 0j»IBmasiC3KOHOMHTb6o^b- 



"For the new political 

forces in power, the act of 

changing spelling was not 

only symbolic but actual, 

a Mow to the old culture 

and the old consciousness. 

it was intended to 

undermine one of the most 

deep-lying cultural 

metaphors: gender. " 



that he happened to become the most radical 
social critic of the "cult of the letter," a 
metaphor for the bureaucratic empire. He 
spared no effort to expose the administrative 
and educational concept of a word as just 
a string of letters, to unmask the worship of the 
written, bureaucratic word. His theory of 
phonemes, which he discovered independently 
of Ferdinand de Saussure but defined as 
a psychological/humanized (rather than a 
systemic) entity, was the result not only of 
a different philosophy of language but also of a 
different philosophy in general. The principle of 
phonemic writing proposed by Baudouin and 
later realized in the 1917 Bolshevik 
orthography reform undermined the stability 
contained in the spirit of the everlasting, 
authoritative letter; it was an attack on 
the magic strength derived by the authorities 
from the "spirit of the letter." In 1904 
Baudouin headed the Committee on 
Orthography, which approved a draft reform 
based on his own proposals, but before these 
ideas were actualized, three revolutions took 
place in Russia. 

Incidentally, Baudouin noted the same 
(objectionable) spirit of the authoritative letter, 
though unmarked with imperial connotations, in 
the Futurists' poetic projects. He criticized their 
theories of the "letter as such" and the "word 
as such"; he protested against their concept of 
letter as archetype. Baudouin did not recognize 
in their attempts the theory of structuralism, 
which was in search of an object that lay 
deeper than his own scholarly interest. Yet he 
did see the limitations of his and his 
colleagues' activities and stressed that one of 
their drawbacks was "the desire for a radical 
destruction of many old ideas without the 
possibility of introducing new ones instead." 

Thus, at the turn of the twentieth century 
the interconnection between the power of state 
and the power of writing was not only identified 
but also confirmed by the imperial jurisdiction 
on the one hand and by oppositional liberal 
democratic scholarly discourse on the other. 
The idea of a new writing was appealing to the 
intelligentsia, thanks to the outstanding 
personal qualities of its proponents: people of 
exemplary honesty and honor, genuine 
humanists. Orthographic freethinking turned 
into a systemic and scholarly ideology of 
intellectual opposition. The feeling of history, 
which had been compromised by the 
reactionary official standpoint and which is 
incorporated in the "genetic" memory of the 
language, did not form part of this ideology. 

The ideas of Russian orthographic 
liberalism came true, as we know, after the 
Great October Revolution. For the new political 



Heresies/idiomA 53 



forces in power, the act of changing spelling 
was not only symbolic but actual, a blow to the 
old culture and the old consciousness. It was 
intended to undermine one of the most deep- 
lying cultural metaphors: gender. The abolition 
of b at the end of a word and its replacement 
by a meaningful zero literally nullified the 
meaningful opposition between masculine and 
feminine represented by B.-A 1 Henceforth the 
masculine gender is defined through negation: 
the gender that is neither feminine nor neuter 
(traditionally associated with infants). Feminine 
and neuter build a meaningful context for the 
masculine gender, which does not exist 
because it is not defined; they sublimate 2 the 
absent masculine marker. Here was a 
prototype of a completely new gender-role 
distribution pattern, in which infancy was a 
gender and man existed only as sublimated by 
woman. It was contrary to the age-old self- 
concept of the human being simultaneously 
existing as two oppositional, asymmetrical, and 
mutually dependent systems, Man and Woman. 
The culture-based mythologem, formerly 
imposed by humans on the surrounding reality 
of both concrete and abstract entities and used 
by them to learn the world through its similarity 
to their own kind, was now stripped of its 
linguistic representation. The creation of Homo 
soveticus, the ideological embodiment of what 
totalitarianism expects of its subjects and a 
model of its addresee, began with forcing 
androgyny on the conceptual sphere. It was 
also the beginning of a new language — lingua 
Sovetica, a contemporary form of pseudo- 
Russian — in which totalitarian power both 
addresses and models its subject. 



The Creation of 

the Totalitarian Androgyn 

I would like to suggest that the writing 
reform of 1917 was the earliest indication of 
what was to be endured by the Soviet people in 
later periods — in other words, that it seems to 
have predetermined or programmed the entire 
economic, political, and social technology of 
the Soviet power structure, which aimed at 
establishing itself through the dehumanization 
of the people. 

As Lenin underlined in one of his works, a 
socialist revolution renovates the world to such 
an extent that it cannot make use of the 
formerly existing institutions of power and must 
demolish them to build up the new socialist 
ones. This is true not only of the parliament 
and police but also of the value system 
preserved and nurtured by the old culture. The 
change of values involved in the socialist 



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hvjiio 3HaMHMyio onnii.,ii UiIil i 'J v ^ 
CKoro h jKeHCKoro pofla "i>":"a" a - 
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poa accoimnpyeTCs c pu'vukomi 

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crayioinero <Heo6o3HaveHHoro) 

MyjKCKOTO, Cy6^HMHpyiOTOTCyTCT- 
BHe 3TOTO 0603HaiieH] I '.1 . I mJh;i 

"■b" - 6yKBBi co 3HaMenncM KaTero- 
Phh pofla - nosopBajia TwcsmcjieTji- 
5imh CKJiaflbiBaBmeeca npeacTaiyie-' 
Hwe yejioBeica o caMOM ce6e kbk o 
cymecTBe, pea^H3yromeMcsi oaho- 
BpeMeHHo b flByx npoTHBoncwox- 

HHX, aCCHMMeTpiMHBl \ lo.H'.'.iiTO- 
BHCHMHX CHCTCMaX - MyjKCKOH H " 

jkchckoh. JlHuiH^acb i invn shuko- 
boh penpe3eHTau;HH Kyjii>Typo66pa- 
3yK>w,asi KaTeropna, nocpcflCTBOM 
kotopoh yejioBeic Haxi- .in i ampe- 

nOMOpCpHOH ABynOJIOl' I'i.lOOKjH x.i- 

KDiqHH ero Mnp npeflMc i mi,i\ ii m- 
npeAMeTHBixcymHOCTi'ii, noiiiaias 
tcm caMbiM mhp b ero noflo6nn ccfic 
caMOMy. 

CoTBopeHHe Homo Soveticus - 
HfleonoraiecKoro Bon;iomeHHfl 

OJKHflaHHH TOTa^HTapilOIO [UaHM.! 

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revolution is the denunciation of the 
supposedly eternal ethical and esthetic 
humanitarian treasures that constitute old 
consciousnes and generate cultural self- 
identification at any given moment. Put 
another way, it is the abolition of b. The 
destruction of the old mentality in the U.S.S.R. 
was closely related to a new gender ideology. 
For seventy years building a new society has 
been effected through the physical 




MapTa BojiKa 

Marta Volka (Elena Shevelenko), 

The Childhood of Napoleon, 1988. 



extermination of man 3 as the subject of old 
culture and the exploitation of once culturally 
marginalized woman. The Soviet androgyn was 
created through the negation of human values, 
the annihilation of the ideal of the free and fully 
rounded personality, the violation of human 
rights and freedoms, the profanation of morals, 
and the destruction of cultural and historical 



Heresies/idiomA 55 



memory — that is, through the negation of 
all the positive values developed by our 
civilization and traditionally applied to man 
rather than woman. 

As the male population was being 
exterminated in concentration camps and 
numerous wars, the female underwent socialist 
training by standing in queues for bread 
or queues in the waiting rooms of the National 
Security Committee for information about her 
repressed relatives, working herself to death 
in factories and on farms, and bringing up 
her children to be true leninist-staiinists 
who disowned their enemy-of-the-people father. 
The women's GULag barracks were extreme 
cases of socialist education. Here the 
pressure was sometimes lifted enough for 
the women prisoners to be able to form 
primitive social structures, something that 



HaTa KoHbimeBa 
Natta Konisheva, 



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56 Heresies/idiomA 



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^'JiarepnaaxencKaMMOAejib 



"Totalitarian androgyny 

began as a socialist 

feminist Utopia. It 

became as repressive to 

women as to men and 

was an important factor 

in the establishment 
of totalitarian control." 



would have been unthinkable in the male 
zones, where each man was always alone 
against the rest of the world. 

These GULag sororities were socialist: 
problems were discussed at meetings and 
solutions approved by a majority vote. Elected 
leaders (kapos) were responsible for a just 
distribution of labor and food and looked for 
possible compromises with the camp 
administration. Comradely collectivism, class 
and political consciousness were valued highly. 
There were unwritten codes of dignity and 
chastity, which were hard to observe because 
of the male administration, but violation was 
prosecuted by boycott or even ostracism. The 
norms of democratic socialism and socialist 
collectivism proved helpful in surviving. 

Such patterns were typical of women and 
of women only, for in no man's GULag memoirs 
can we find anything similar. Symptomatically, 
men and women described different attitudes 
to camp labor. For men, slavery toil at timber 
felling or mining was the extreme form of 
humiliation, an analogue of capital punishment 
executed in a torturing manner, which was 
obviously the intention. For women, work was 
the only way to feel at one with God and 
humanity, the only means to preserve the 
human self. Women who survived adapted the 
experience of GULag socialism to their lives in 
freedom. What they had endured was an 
unforgettable school of life, and their children 
drank in the education along with the milk, thus 
adapting to totalitarianism through their 
mothers' training. We should also not forget 
that in the late 1940s girls were separated 
from boys at school, which suggests the same 
differentiation of approach indicated by former 
GULag prisoners. Even women who were not 
imprisoned underwent the same type of social 
conditioning within other structures, such as, 
for example, the bread queues. 

The evacuation of women and children to 
Siberia and Central Asia during World War II 
produced a very special education: the wartime 
evacuation sorority is still awaiting its 
sociologist, but we are always hearing our 
grandmothers and mothers speak about the 
wonderful women's friendships they used to 
have before and during the war and how happy 
they are to have had such good female 
comrades despite the indescribable hardships 
of everyday life. 4 

Totalitarian androgyny began as a socialist 
feminist Utopia. It became as repressive to 
women as to men and was an important factor 
in the establishment of totalitarian control. 
After the devastating repressions and wars, 
women began in the mid-1940s to fill 
vacancies that even in the early 1930s, when 



Heresies/idiomA 57 



women had been actively involved in 
production, had remained purely male — 
vacancies involving hard physical labor, which 
women had to take up for the sake of the 
survival of their motherland, their children, and 
themselves, vacancies at a level where no 
decisions can be made and all initiative 
muffled. The stereotypical female petty 
bureaucrat is probably a sublimation of the 
castration complex, Soviet style, but in actuality 
her function is very important for the regime: 
ideally the Soviet people should have no needs. 
Women acting as petty bureaucrats or 
inefficient teachers or doctors (especially 
gynecologists or pediatricians) or salespeople 
in foodstores are women on whom you depend 
for survival, and they are positioned to say no 
to your basic needs. In this way Woman has 



EjieHa PoMaHOBa 
Elena Romanova, Old Folk from 
the Northern Village, drawing on 
paper, 60x75 cm., 1968. 




\£r- fe. . V/T&Pr -I-,'. ,d^r >» A; 







'vk 



been exploited as a tool of totalitarian 
oppression. Socialist realist art, as well as 
obscene antipatriotic jokes, have made her a 
symbol of this, and therefore much hate is 
directed at her. 5 

The social conflicts of recent years are 
more often represented through and more 
played out in the realm of the iconography of 
power. The removal of monuments to Soviet 
state leaders, the disappearance of the 
portraits and slogans that had been used as 
decoration during the pre-perestroika epoch, 
the return to the prerevolutionary names of 
streets and cities: all this is evidence of the 
irrational attitude toward signs cultivated by 
Soviet power. The iconoclasm is also manifest 



'V.- 

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Jimusi Me>Kfly jiroabMH, hckodT" 
npejKAe Bcero caMoe nep Boe c 
npocToe - pa3Jnw He p 0fla , C n Z? 

HOCTb OflHOH nOTOBHHM Hacejie. 

BocnpHHHMaTb ce6s "i iL - -iaKn-n!'^ 
KaK flpyraa nojioniiii.i. (Vp C o T1 .' 
^»ce-aHflporHHHocTH, BocniiTaii-" 

HHH B C03HaHHH COBl i lK l;\ ...y.y 
HUH H XCeHHtflH, 6l: ,\ CIOI-.UO.'moI. 

ho paccMaTpHBaTb KaK onpe^Hio". 

IHHH CpaKTOp, Ha KOTOpOM 3HJKACT-' 

csi TOTa^HTapHaa HayKa ynpaim c / 

HHJI. 

OCBo6oflHB C03HaHHC COBCTCKOIX) 

yejioBeica ot hctophmcckh 33Kpcn- 
jieHHOH b HeM flHxoxoMHH poaa/pe- 
2KHM H36aBHji era h o'i in-[opiiiie- 
ckoh OTBeTCTBeHHocra, ot npecno- 
ByToro "6peMeHH hctophh", ot bc- 
kobwx KyjiwypHbix ueHHocTeii, 

KOHHOTaTHBHO CBiI3illllll,I.\ C jlflil 
flHXOTOMHeH. TaK CObUIOCb B COBCT- 

ckoh peajibHocTH BWHomeHHoery- 
MaHHCTaMH-fleMOKpaTaMH h neKpe- 
th- poBaHHoe 6ojii>uieBHKaMii yn- 
pa3flHeHHe "jmumevi 6yKBi.i" TBcp- 
floro 3HaKa. 

CoHHa^bHbie 6poxceHH5i nocacfl* 
hhx jieT Bee vramepiMip.'ai-nnip}- 
lOTca Ha ypoBHe n mmioi paijuii! n.ia- 

CTH. ZJ,eMOHTa>K naMSITHHKOB COBCT- 

ckhm rocyflapcTBeHHbiM fleaie^aM, 

OTKa3 OT OCpHHHajlbHblX IIOpTpeTOB 

h TpaHcnapaHTOB, l-i;ii:iiiii\ iiconr 
eMJiewcoH MacTbio 1 1 p\ m i v.-k i ypi.i 11 

AH3aHHa, B03BpameHHC K flOpCBO- 
JlIOUHOHHblM Ha3BaHHHM y^Hll II W* 

Poaob - Bee 3to roBi'psi r o ^nny'ie- 

CTH B0CnHT3HH0r0 COBCTCKOH B^a- 

CTbK) iippau.HOHa.nbHoro, mhcthmc- 
ckoto OTHOineHHa k hikikv. llepc- 
cxpoe^Hoe HKOHo6opiecTBO npoan- 
jisiercsi h b opcporpac})HH. To Tyf, 
to TaM mh Bee yanu' i i;i:iKiinaeMM 

CfleMOHCTpaTHBHWMIl HOnlUKilMH 

B03BpaTa k CTapbiM npaiioiiiKa- 
TejibHHM HopMaM, wameBcero-K 

BOCCTaHOBJieHHK) TBL'p.'lOl :i»3K3 

Ha KOHne cnoBa. Buom. mvxckoc 
OKOHTOHHe 'V - caMoc JI I w " oS 
npaBHJio H3 0TMenL-uiii.i\ h l'J 1 ^ 
6epe T Ha ce6a cpy 1 1 k i u« '" u1,i1i0T ' 
iihh HacTpoeHHJi Tipnroci«i- 
CeitiaccTaJioocofviiiioaaM,^ 

mto HfleoreHHaa: ri|ni|'aia t- 1 - 



>^ 

.ibctct- 
(Gender 

JVKT3, o 

tCHffl" H 

? |ieC0OT 

iMpiVi^ 

» no/i» TI 

TaK,' 

went - 

ccoro hv 



1 flOJTHTim 

I E060pCTJ 

I B,ipXH3N 

J petaHii 

I laetcac 

1 siiasKoi 

I " HCHHOCT 

j wrsoBf 

!■ mefinai 

| tyuiKen 

I MHIITCfll 

I HIIOHHO) 

I 110H9KO 

} ripn 

I ,ieflOBaT 

I cyflbTyj 

1 iipoote> 

I /iCHiie k 

I xaJib-H 

I poeitac 

I so6me( 

; t-ypcc c 

I B03B 

;i Cypiioii 

I PSflcra 

1 Kimtet 

,! *II31IH 

I EojKbH 

I -naKax 

} '^"Tpa 

I '*HOCKI' 

|1 n p ,scyi 

I lajKHB 

I s 5'a3Hi 

\ K «Tb 1 

i; ' 'iota. 

: : lic-iV. 

I; 3no 

I; --^Ma 



58 Heresies/idiomA 



TCKOro 

rau.it- 

"ioii pc . 
""niae- 
■n no- 
i pa3- 

3 PCllll|i 

.casioc 
ioco6- 

JJICHHH 
11MH", 

'COTiin 

T3H- 

My*- 

1, MO/K- 

•fleaflio- 

H3KJICT- 

mbjic- 

■CTCKOro 

aKpcn- 
ofla.pn- 

pil'IC- 

ipeoio- 

, OT BC- 

n-eii, 

; 3T0fl 

BCOBCT- 

Hoe ry- 
HACKpc- 
hh yn- 

I'TBCp- 

.nooicjt- 

BTHpy- 

pHIIBM- 

3BC0BCT" 

wenM, 

pTpCTCB 
K HCOTV 

rypwii 
jopCBO: 

kHBy'ic- j 

l : IIcp€ 

'dtyr. X 
iiBacMC* 

jitca- 
iceft-* ;! 
isHas? 
*ckoc 
jcroc 
1917- 

ia'cM^i."- 1 



iipofla, ee Tccnasi CBsi3b c Mcxa- 
P {|3MaMH BJiaCTM MCpC3 CTpyK-rypw 
, o3H aTe^bnoro n Mepc3 Ta6yn- 
v gjjjjyio ceKcyajii.HocTb ne oc- 
ihiaieH 3 b pyccKoii Ky.ibType, a co- 
' , BeT cT- Byiomni'i ancKypc naiviepT- 

sOOKKynHP OBaH "HH3KHMH" >KaH- 

iiaMH. IIpeHe6pe>KeHiie no othoiijc- 
a)i'ioKnpo6jieMaTHKc poaa 
iGender) KaK counajibnoro koiict- 
•(ivkTa, oTpaxaiomero xapaKTep 
McnpeH e;ieHHS1 EJiaCTH B o6mccTBe 
loofime h MOKfly My«ijnnaMn h 

rtHWHHaMH B MaCTHOCTH, 0TC}'TCT- 

liiecooTBeTCTByiomero ancKvpca 
.tiOpo)Kfl aeT Kypbe3nyio nvTamiuy 
tnoJiHTH^ecKHX peripe3CHTanHsix. 
TaK, mhcto "renAepubiii" noxa- 
jj IMb - 6yKBa '"b" na kohu,c Myx- 
cKoro"MeHH - np»o6pe.n CBoiiCTBa 
j)MHTiwecKoro;i03yHra nun npoTH- 

8o6opCTByiOIUHX TC^CHUM - OT MO- 

HapxH3Mafloanapxii3Ma. Ero ynoT- 
je&ieHne cucTeMaxiiMecKii cbsi3i>i- 
Meicfl c nporpaMMaMH yTBepxae- 

jHHHKo6bI yTpaMeHHblX MyjKCKHX 

iiciiHOCTeH - 6yflb to BOcnoMiina- 
aiu o Bpafl jtii Koraa cymecTBOBaB- 
aicft naTpnapxajibHOH Py ai-iua- 
lyoreeao BocneBaHiis! ho MCHce co- 
WMbHbix ycnexoB aopeBOjiio- 

.flHOHHOH POCCHH H3 HHBe pblHOM- 
ffi)ii 3K0HOMHKI1 H npaB JlHqHOCTH. 

' Flpii Bceii c6hbmiiboctji h nenoc- 
..iCjOBaie^bHocTii HfleojioniMecKHx 

teieHHH B COBpeMCHHOH COBCTCKOli 

;sy»Type^0inb oflHa TeHaenuiui 
, BpocaejKHBaeTca acho - 3to crpcM- 

aiieK peKOHCTpyKUHii naTpnap- 
;«i)-Hi>ixoTHoiiieHnil poaa, KOTO- 

fOCHacToiiiiHBo 3asnsji5ieT o ce6e n 

r 506lUeCTBeHHOH JKH3H11, H B flHC- 

«|pceceKcya^bH0CTn. 

^03BpameHne (iuih cy6jiMMa- 
ta)i(CTopiin npoxexaeT na cpone 

-%H0H3pOTH3amiH. Bll3Va./IbHbn"f 

Ps,mn ocTpo-nopnorpacpii mch . 
•.wueBMe (peTHiuir "npoKneii" 

If HH ■ CycaJIbHMC H306pa>KCHH5i 

;,^»'»x xpaMOB, BCTpeMaiomiiecsi 
^apu mary - H e cocTaBjisiroT 
^wpacTa rpy6oii nopnorpacpim, 
.] * c 3an 0Ji0HiiBiueH raseTHbie 

-sJ! KHl rfle paHbuJe "o6Ha*cnKa" 
• l!" yTCrB0B a^a mmi, b njiane "06- 

>iT xcanp0THB °p CT »» 6 yp- 

■^"^bTypH-.CeKcvajib- 

^T? Cnyer R >' Max ««' 
'^HOHMaHHeu'noucKaKop- 



"Sexuality reigns 

supreme alongside the 

maniacal search for one's 

roots. The epoch of 

historical materialism 

has given way to the epoch 

of historical masochism. 

Historical guilt is 
experienced ecstatically." 



in orthography. Provocative attempts to restore 
the old spelling rules, especially the masculine 
letter at the end of a word, have again 
assumed clear connotations of social protest. 
Recently it has become especially clear that the 
ideogenic nature of gender as a category and 
its intimate relationship with the techniques of 
power, through both the structures of the 
unconscious and taboo sexuality, has not been 
articulated by Russian culture, and that the 
gender discourse is occupied by the "low" 
genres. A general contempt toward regarding 
gender as a social construct and a lack of 
appropriate discourse on the subject give rise 
to a curious muddle in political representations. 

Thus the marker b, which is purely gender- 
morphological, has acquired the characteristics 
of a political slogan for conflicting political 
trends, from monarchism to anarchism. Its 
usage (or rather, abusage) is constantly being 
associated with programs to reestablish 
allegedly forsaken and purely masculinist 
values. Most often £> is used to denote 
patriarchal Mother Rus — a contemporary 
Russian nationalist myth — or the no less 
dubious economic and democratic flourishing of 
capitalist Russia at the turn of the twentieth 
century. Though current ideological discourse 
is exceptionally misleading and verbose, there 
is one unmistakable tendency: the 
reconstruction of patriarchy. 6 

Patriarchal gender philosophy now reigns in 
both social life and sexual discourse. The 
return of history (or rather its sublimation) 
takes place against a background of extreme 
eroticization. Visual culture is acutely 
pornographic. Kitsch fetishes of "old Rus" — 
sweet pictures of churches and monasteries 
now found on every corner — pose no 
contradiction to the porn mags sold openly in 
the same newspaper stands in which several 
years ago nudity could be encountered only in 
the context of the "naked conflicts of bourgeois 
morality." Sexuality reigns supreme alongside 
the maniacal search for one's roots. The 
epoch of historical materialism has given way 
to the epoch of historical masochism. 
Historical guilt is experienced ecstatically. 
Newly discovered problems are being tackled in 
the same terms of symbolic, magical 
manipulation that were first suggested by the 
Bolshevik cultural revolution. For this reason, 
the program begun by the 1917 spelling reform 
is neither outdated nor likely to be discarded by 
the society in the foreseeable future. 7 



m 



''sCM HCT ° PHliecKoro Ma-rcpjia- 
L ICHl wacb anoxoii ncTopn- 



Heresies/idiomA 59 



NOTES 

1 What I think is wrong with this is the means by which this 
was achieved. I do not think that many American feminists 
would admit that the ends justify the means, even if the 
aim is as noble as that of women's liberation. Another 
thing that I think is completely wrong is the idea that 
women 's freedom was really achieved. It was only 
proclaimed, as I tried to show in my paper that the 
emancipated Soviet woman was another lie which served 
the aim of her ultimate enslavement — not so much to the 
man who became irrelevant but to the State, and to the 
Ideology. But the word (in this case, "sexual equality"), 
whether it is truthful or otherwise, has the power of 
producing reality. The paradox is that the desired effect 
was reached in the long run, and Soviet men and women 
did achieve a sort of angelical (e)quality, a sexual in- 
difference (in-discrimination) which was forced on them by 
political and economic structures. The forced "angelhood" 
is what I call totalitahan androgyny, and I cannot think of it 
as a positive move. The collapse of totalitarian system 
brought about the end of this pseudoandrogyny. 
Paradoxically, again, we used to be "equal" (equally denied 
of freedom of will), the effeminate men and the 
masculinized women. But the idea of true sexual equality 
has been so much compromised by the totalitarian practice 
that I can foretell the lack of success of any women's 
initiative, let alone feminist pursuit, in the present-day ex- 
it. S.S.R. for many years to come. 

2 I used "sublimate" in the chemical sense of "convening 
from a solid state to vapor by heat and allowing it to solidify 
again in order to purify it (sic!)" and I very much welcome all 
the semantic overtones to the metaphor, Freudian or 
otherwise. 

3 As for the connection between the abolition of b and the 
attempt of the government to "deliberately" exterminate 
males, it depends upon how you understand "deliberate." 
To what extent is the logic of historical process the result 
of "deliberate" actions of groups of people? Can we speak 
about deliberate actions when interpreting historical events 
at all? The only thing I wanted to say is that systems of 
expression (and writing first and foremost) do not only 
reflect retrospectively but also program and determine the 
possible ways of future historical development. As a 
linguist I will insist on this kabbalistic point. The change of 
history was preceded (and was predetermined, and could 
have been predicted) by the change in the system of 
writing, and was later on effected in strict accordance with 
the alterations first introduced in writing — this was the 
message I was trying to convey. 

4 Women's bonding and friendships were not androgyny, 
they were sisterhoods — another feminist ideal achieved in 
the U.S.S.R. through severe political and physical 
repression. Another challenge to feminism, I'm afraid. 
Unfortunately, sisterhood can be used as a depersonalizing 
tool, for the destruction, not the creation of the female 
personality. 

5 As for obscene jokes and Socialist Realism: The Statue 
of Motherland in Volgograd, one of the grandest figures of 
its kind, was popularly christened "klyopanaya baba" 
(riveted), euphemistic of and consonant to "yobanaya," 
which is a very taboo equivalent of the English "fucked, " 
the one which is not reproduced in print, not even in 
dictionaries. 

6 The return ofb is not exactly the reconstruction, but 
rather the re-articulation (re-formulation) of patriarchy in 
terms of prerevolutionary maledominated values. As a 
phenomenon of politics and economy, perestroika might be 
a reconstruction of capitalism. In terms of social order and 
mass culture, it is an attempt at rethinking patriarchy, of re- 
establishing the male in the centre of the social structure. 
Of course, not a single man here would admit to the fact. 
But I was assured of the fact once again by the observation 
of mass cultural behavior after the coup. 

7 I don't know what the consequences are for feminists, 
but I am certain they are not to be neglected. I do think of 
myself as a feminist, but I can see that not everything is 
clear with feminist theory when applied to the Soviet 
situation. I do believe, though, that whatever problems 
there might be, feminism remains the only reliable 
analytical tool in understanding the processes that are 
going on. Sociologically, politically, and economically, the 
situation is very confused. In feminist terms, it is more 
definite and can be interpreted as a situation of re- 
articulation of patriarchy in discourse. M 



uecKoro Ma3oxH3Ma. 06pc T e, 
paMeHHoroMyBCTBa H CTop H "2 T " 
BoawaercH 3KCTaTHHcc K M M nen 

JKHBaHHCM KOMIUTCKCa HCTOpi,!/ 
CKOit BHHH. XapaKTepHO, OflMlKo" 

mto pememte bhobb bo 3H hkuihv 

npo6jieM BHflHTCSI B CTapOM Jin 

CTpoeMHOM MeTose - ManmccKo?' 
MaHnnyjiaimeii 6yKBosi. ,,.._.,'*, 
K3K MaHflajiOH cyfli,6i>i bcch crpa 
hh. TaK-Hxo noKa counajibHas L 
rpaMMa, sajioaxeHHaa 6o;n, mcBH ' ' 
ckoh pecpopMoft npaBoriH- cann H *" 

HHK3K He MOXeT CMHTa I U-.I iHp ^ _ 

TaHHoii. H 



60 Heresies/idiomA 



onpi,. 

pe- j 

we- | 

iko, j 

nepe- j 

OH | 

CM j 

pn- | 
i npo- | 

m«, t " j «BjiH30CTb h ^py>K6a Me>K^y 

:pa(5o- j 

8§fltl|, ' -. 

"Women's bonding and friendships were 

>KeHii(HHaMH 6buiw 6jiH30CTbio cecTep— 

j 

F ■■■ 
I 

I not androgyny, they were sisterhoods — another 
i 

j 

j eme 0£hh H^eaji, ^ocrarHyTbiH b C.C.C.P. 

feminist idea! achieved in the U.S.S.E. through 

I ^epe3 >KecTOKoe nojiHTHMecKoe h 

severe political and physical repression. 

(J)H3HtjecKoe no^aBJieHHe. no>KajiyH, 
Another challenge to feminism, I'm afraid." 

eil^e O^HH BM30B $eMHHH3My. » 



»..M 



I 



Heresies/idiomA 61 






THE FIRST 



1 H 



FEMINIST ART EXHIBITIOi 




It was Sartre, and later Derrida, who 
referred to the unknowability of the world — 
and human inability to perceive in it anything 
beyond solo ipse — as blindness. To unfold the 
metaphor, one may suggest that if male 
perception of woman does not involve complete 
blindness, it at least involves a squint as the 
contemplating eye tries to get the picture in 
focus. A smugness, however, tends to 
accompany the squint. 

Like all empirical categories, gender is 
conventional, and like all conventions, it stands 
in a certain relation to power. By force of social 
convention, much of what is allowed to a man 
is taboo for a woman. It is the notion of 
femininity that serves to conceptualize the 
taboo on woman's self-realization. In order to 
preserve male privilege, patriarchal philosophy 
cultivates gender as "natural," "innate," 
"transcendental." The male gaze demonizes 
and mythologizes woman, ascribing to her 
name the semantics of the intentional object. 
Adam, endowed with the power of nomination, 
introduces limitations to woman's being with 
the help of a closed-curve frame. Realization of 
woman's abilities is confined to elementary 
geometry: the family circle, the vicious circle, 
the love triangle. To Homo symbolicus, woman 
is the eternal Other, the non-1 of the world. The 
intentional context/connotations imposed on 
woman against her will (e.g., the "feminine 
mystique") alienate her from truth. Woman 
vainly attempts to prove to herself as well as to 
others the objectivity of her own existence, and 
her unverifiable ego results in vanity. 

For Gerostratus, therefore, the feminine 
gender is suicidal. Female suicide is an 
attempt at destruction of the common cultural 
property, the symbol. Brandishing an axe, a 
militant suffragist rushed at Velasquez's 
Reposing Venus in 1914 (the same year a 
Russian Jew attacked Repin's masterpiece Ivan 
the Terrible Killing His Son), thus committing an 
act of autoagression and leaving on her own 
accord the world of higher values for that of the 
tabloid anecdote and madness. 



V_ a p i p . a hc.-i e,i sa n 1 1 M ; 1 c-ppnj a 
iui.ii.macj- iiencummacMoni, Miipa' 
ii iiOCiiocoouncTi. »ic:ioi:ck;i \bh- 

UCTh B HCM MT0-,1H00, KpOMe Solo ! 

ipse, tVicnoToii. I'a^niir.iisrMcraijx)- 
py, oi ml-i h.m con iic iiivumo eic- 
noTy, to no Kpaiineii mepe hckoto- 

p\ 10 -ja^MVpcillIOCTI. I! \1\ ACKOM i 

B3i7iaae na jKCHmiiny. Ch-ijacTH 
omi onp;m.m>m:ii. > ]-CM :>Minipn3Mou 
Kin iTopini MvxiCKoro n ;;;enQ.oro 
iCn-'iiuVr. I'cO. Co.iv.'piiaiomiiji 
n.sop noiiciso.'ie iipmu\ pm.acica, 

>M05hl llOHMJITb KapillHKV H(j:OK\C 

OflHaico npumyp stot h ■ hi. C\ i ,iy- 
KaBCTBa. Kax Bcsrcaa 3MnnpH<ie- jfii 
i'ran Kuivivpnsi. Gender koiihoh- 

IIIIOII.I.'ICII II KIIK Kl'UK.I'.I K0I1KCII- 

iiiim, .iaKp.-ii.icn ii uwiummi ouio- 
uieHHeM Bjiacra. B cmiy o6me- .'• ^ J 
CTBeHHoro AoroBopa mhoiol- us to- 
io. 'no mo;kiio m> ri.>iinic iii'.iiiiH 
xeHimme. 3anpeTW na ■jk^ulkoi; ca- 
MonpoflBjiemie K0Hu,eiiTya.'iii3iipy- 
KJTca b noHJiTiur /Kchctbchhoctii. : 

GTpeMSCb COXpaHHTB MyjKCKV 

ii|)iii!ii;icnin. naipuap.\a.ii>n.ui<l>n- 

.-lOCOlJjIIil Cil.'Iu1l_TKy.lblHl.upU'TIIX 

KaK "ecTecTBeHHbie", "npiipo>yen- 
huc", "TpaHcu.eflenTni.ie". My*- .■ .; 
ckoji npumyp fleM0Hti3iipyeT u mii- , 
cpo^orM3HpyeT xeHmHHy, npr ■'- 
CMBaereeHMeHHeeMaHTHK} "»- 
-ii:noioiia:ii,noiooCii.(.'KTa. llaic- 

■HeHHMli nO-IHOMOMHflMH IIMeH0B3-. ; 

hh5i, AflaM orpaHHmiBaei co cyn. 
Moaa.abHoii paMKoii b cjiopMC iwe- ,; 
a.ai>HOii 3aMKnyTon i:piiBoii. Bo3- . ■ j 
mom;hocth ;KCHmiiHi.i orpammiiBa - -j 
lorcii xii'Mciinipnoii rviv.K-jpH-"* 
ceMeftHbiii Kpyr,nopoyHbiii Kpyr. 
jiio6oBHbiii TpeyrwibHin:. /KenDlH- ■ 
na a.™ Homo symbolicus - "f^Vj 
Haa oonacTb J3,pyroro, "ne-% - M " 
pa. HaBsi3i.iBacMbui eii iihtchciio- i 

Ha.nbHi.iii kohtckct fTai'ma * eH " -| 
CKoii flyoiif") oTHyxaaeT *eHiwn £j 

OT HCTHHHOCTH. 3ECe^aHH^ iM'»' 



\s 



62 Heresies/idiomA 



T 



m THE u, 




imeTHbieflOKasaTejibCTBa ce6e ca- 

••loiiHHpyrHM 06l 3 eKTHBH0CTH co6- 

icrBeHHorocymecTBOBaHHSL Tme- 
."aaBHe - jio:>KHoe (Bue-ncTHHHoe) 

"51". 

•".,no3TOMy aceHCKHH poA ot Tepo- 
crpaTa - caMoy6HHu,a. Xchckhh 
cvhuha ecTi> noKymeiiHe Ha o6me- 

•KVJlBTypHOe AOCT05IHHe - kohbch- 

pioCHMBOJia. BoHHCTByromasi 
cytj)pa>KiicTKa 6pocaeTCH c TonopoM 
ja BeaacKecoBy "JlejKaiuyio BeHe- 
,' py" (1914 roA, OAHOBpeMenHo c no- 
; -KymeHHeM Ha nieAeBp Hjibh Ecpii- 
', iiOBHva Penima ot pyKH eBpes) , 
KMcaMBiM coBepinasi aKT ayi-oar- 
• feccHH, H3HHyToxeHH5i ce6a, ao- 
"fipoBp^bHoro yxoAa ot inupa Bh- 
: ; ,cmnxE[eHHocTeH - b 6e3yMjie, b 

aHC'K,10T. 

;, , Bch 3anaAHaH KyjiM-ypa B3poc;ia 
•HacHMBojiH3au;HH >KeHCKoro Tara. 
\9nwecKHe h acTeTiraecKHe on;eH- 
'• KHBBicoKoro h HH3Koro, npeicpac- 

HoroH6e3o6pa3Horo, AonycniMoro 
fHpa3peineHHoro cyTb MOAycbi Bocn- 
iPHhthh <pH3iwecKoro o6pa3a acen- 

rJJHHH. TejIO fteBH MapHH, BBIHO- 

;- f CHBmeH (BepH<|)Hu,HpoBaBiiieH, b 
^OrfHaie noATBepacAeHHa hcthhho- 
s ;Wh) Tejio Xphctobo. ripoeKii,ns 
jteBUHa rpexoBHoe xcetrcKoe Tejio 
~,»3KCTa3e caMo6H^eBaHH5i hjih 
iffJWinrecKoro caMo;iio6oBaHHsi - b 

7»TpHCTHKe, K3K H B 6yjIbBapHOH 

.||»iHKe. CTpax nopa6oui;eHnsr (Ka- 
;frpaim H ) nopoAHBuieii Te65i 
||iparo. JIio6HMa5i MOA&Tib, o6 H a- 
* e "" oe "flpyroe i?" , nonbiTKa 061- 

^CHa HBHP0BaTb " H TCM caMHM 
"•flay"" ~ pa3ABOemie co6cTBeHHoii 
-'aaa CT "' 3anaflHasi naTpHapxaxtb- 
l i 88 ^ yJII> ' rypa ocMbioiHBaeT aHApo- 
-'Wm^s B acHMMCT P HXj:H0 M onno- 

*£go'' 1 KTKBHOro M y« CKOro 

Sf*„ HCy6l>eK ™BH0rOCHMB0^H- 

^° ro *eHCKoro"Id". 
- amnHa b naTpHapxa^bHofi 



Esther Zhezmer 



The whole of Western culture has been 
bred on the symbolization of the female body. 
Western ethical and aesthetic ideas of the high 
and the low, as well as the beautiful and the 
ugly, are simply categorizations of woman's 
physical image. We have the Virgin who bore 
(that is to say, verified) the body of the Savior; 
projection of guilt onto the sinful female body 
in the ecstatic self-flagellation and 
phallic narcissism of sleazy erotica; fear of 
enslavement (castration) by the very flesh that 
begat oneself; and the beloved artist's model, 
the naked alter ego, an attempt to objectify a 
man's own existence and heal his split identity. 
Western patriarchical culture poses androgyny 
as an asymmetrical opposition of the objective 
male ego to the subjective female id. 

In the classical European tradition the 
female is customarily dismembered and 
visualized "from the neck to the knees." By 
contrast, the Russian tradition stresses the 
woman's soul through radiant eyes, delicate 
fingers, thorn-wounded toes. Russian Carnival 
is not the lowering of the high but primarily the 
raising of the low, the spiritualization of the 
animal, the idolization of the whore. The object 
of physical desire is uplifted to the level of 
transcendental inspiration. Logos and Sophia, 
the spiritual counterparts of male and female, 
mate in astral marriage (Vladimir Solovyov). 
The eyelike aperture on the head of the 
male organ looks directly into the Cosmos 
(Vassily Rosanov). Russian religiosity, Russian 
nationalism, and Russian statehood are all 
viewed as feminine (Nikolai Berdiayev): Russia 
would stifle her own child in her sleep — could 
sleep him to death, as the saying goes — and 
not even notice. The Russian "Silver Age" of 
religious philosophy brilliantly spiritualized male 
impotence in, for example, Alexandr Blok's 
"beautiful lady," the famous tum-of-the-century 
family trianngles, even Mayakovsky's Cloud 
in Pants. To quote Maximilian Voloshin: 
"Because just as the female being is 
impregnated by the male in the physical world, 
so should the male element conceive by the 

Heresies/idiomA 63 



female in the world of the spirit, to realize itself 
in creativity. Hence the role of female 
inspiration in the life of every artist." 

Symbolizing creative energy as a female 
was to have far-reaching consequences for 
Russian culture. On the one hand, it paved the 
way for women's involvement in the avant-garde 
aggression of the 1910s and 1920s against 
traditional culture. On the other, it inspired 
more than one monumentalist of Socialist 
Realism to mythologize totalitarian oppression 
as a victorious female, as in the Motherland, 
the Party, and so on. Generally speaking, male 
impotence could be regarded as a principled 
stance of the Soviet intellectual toward the 
"Sophia Vlassyevna" (as a popular Soviet song 
referred to the Soviet power). It was the 
Russian idea of the spiritual woman that 
determined the situation of the real woman in 
art. While in the West the woman is the artist's 
model, in Russia she is his muse. In both 
contexts, however, the female personality must 
overcome the symbolic power of her sex in 
order to be included in artistic activities. 

The female invasion of the art scene in 
the West and in Russia was effected through 
different strategies. In European art history the 
female identity is established through the 
conflict of the couple: the genius and his 
admirer, the teacher and his pupil, the 
father/husband and his daughter/wife. As 
Linda Nochlin demonstrates, such a couple is 
an important institution that socializes the 
women in the art world and provides a 
redistribution of artistic influences. Russian 
women artists chose to overcome the 
imperative of the symbol not in familial conflicts 
but rather as part of the social movement for 
emancipation, against a background of growing 
self-consciousness. It was rather early that 
Russian women stopped making concessions 
to the romantic babble of male pro- 
fessionalism. And while a downtrodden 
schoolteacher allowed the inexhaustible 
practical joker Voioshin to turn himself into the 
mysterious poetess Cherubina de Gabriac, thus 
assuring her success in the predominantly 
male literary world, this type of artistic 
mentorship was being disowned by the sixteen- 
year-old Marina Tzvetayeva. It was she who first 
declared her rights in the masculine gender 
("I am a poet"). In neither Russian art of the 
early twentieth century nor that of the Soviet 
period are there women artists or authoresses 
or poetesses; there are only artists, authors, 
and poets, though many of them are women. 

Which method has proved more effective, 
the western European or the Russian? Gunther 
Veist provides some statistical data: In all of 
art history only 2 percent of artists were 

64 Heresies/idiomA 



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"Wirkile In the West the 
an is the artist's 
irt Russia she is Ms 



ratase. m 



personality miust overcome 

the symbolic power of her 

sex in order to be inch 

in artistic activities. 



women. In Russia of the 1910s and 1920s 
they constituted 20 percent. In comparison to 
Germany, where in 1918 seven out of ten art 
academies accepted no women students, 
Russian women were early to engage in art 
professionally. Women's participation can be 
considered indirect evidence of political 
freedom. The end of the Weimar Republic saw 
30 percent women in art; during the Nazi 
regime the figure decreased to 10 percent. In 
contrast to the 20 percent women in Russia 
during the 1910s-1920s, the epoch of 
Socialist Realism produced no women's names 
but Vera Mukhina's, though there were quite a 
number of women making art during those 
years, all of them forced into the sphere of 
applied rather than "real" art. 

Today numerous women receive an 
education in art, but only the select few 
manage to rise above obscurity. The 
contemporary post-totalitarian artistic 
environment in Russia is saturated with 
extreme sexism, an ideology shared by women 
themselves, who mistake open male 
chauvinism for sexual equality. The experience 
of women artists who belonged to the avant- 
garde and achieved complete independence 
within the art world is forgotten as soon as the 
tide of "revolutionary renewal" diminishes. 
Women have a choice in which both 
alternatives are essentially wrong: either to be 
considered second-rate men (a standard 
compliment being that one is a woman artist 
[but] possesses the heart/wisdom/logic of a 
man) or to drop out of the context altogether. In 
both cases the self must be sacrificed. Women 
find themselves in a condition of oppression no 
matter which attitude is held by the men, 
whether that of the Western or the modern 
Soviet phallocracy or that of the Russian 
absentee male of the early twentieth century. 

The contradictory situation of the Soviet 
woman artist became manifest during ZEN: 
Woman as Subject and Object in Art, a feminist 
art exhibition that took place in Moscow in 
March 1990. The title of the show is the root of 
zhenshchina, the Russian word for woman, 
written using the metalanguage of international 
transcription symbols. The term ZEN on the one 
hand cosmopoliticized that favorite symbol of 
Russian patriotic pride, the Russian woman, 
and on the other, in a sort of oriental 
interpretation, expressed a contempt for the 
Soviet ideology of femininity as a forced form of 
woman's existence. 

For the first, Leningrad variant of ZEN, 
curators Olesya Turkina, an art critic, and Victor 
Mazin, a philosopher, put together a conceptual 
collection of textiles, including artifacts by 
Leningrad underground artists of both sexes 

Heresies/idiomA 65 



created especially for the show as well as 
objets trouvees contributed by their dextrous 
babushkas. All works, independent of the sex 
of the author, were signed with suggestive 
female pseudonyms, and the public was given 
the opportunity to attempt a sexual attribution 
according to the supposedly natural artistic 
features suggested by their own stereotypes. 

"Textile," declare Olesya and Victor, "is 
and, at the same time, is not a work of art. In 
contrast to painting, where canvas is con- 
cealed beneath a layer of paint, textile is hand- 
made and natural, an extension of the human 
body whether it serves as clothing or as a 
detail of interior design. A painting is earthly in 
its claims to be transcendent, while cloth is 
transparent and sincere, transparent both 
semantically and physically, a veil. The veil as 
an element of female attire creates a zone of 
tension between the eye and the object of per- 
ception. The veil disperses the phallocentric 
male gaze and makes the woman a dim object 
of desire, yet a man, too, can be hidden under 
the veil. Thus the use of a material that is sup- 
posed to be alien to male creative art may 
deceive the observer. Textile is a chador for 
men. Text-il and text-elle are interwoven in the 
heterogeneous cloth of the exposition and 
assume new meanings in its context. Voila." 1 
The show succeeded in deconstructing the art- 
critical preconception of women's art as being 
decorative, though the problem of women's sit- 
uation in art was secondary to the graceful 
handling of the idea of androgyny. Text-Veiled 
Art from Leningrad was actually an exhibit of 
the very refined art of etiquettage. 

The Moscow part of ZEN, curated by art 
critic Valery Sergeyev, was a group of paintings 
and objects in which women artists were in the 
absolute minority. Here the subject/object 
relation set by the exhibition's subtitle sounded 
a lyric note of perestroika disappointment (the 
opening of the show took place by chance on 
International Women's Day). The curator saw 
his task as "equating the man's and the 
woman's rights to existence." The idea of 
equality was to be conveyed as if through a 
compound syntactic construction with the 
coordinating conjunction and, as in Woman and 
History, Woman and Politics, Woman and Sex, 
Woman and Form, and so on. Yet instead of an 
expected mutual refinement in the meaning of 
the coordinated nouns, what emerged was the 
ambiguity of the conjunction: the connective 
relation and broke down to produce the 
adversarial but. It was a violent attempt to 
include woman into the context of masculinist 
fixations. One saw here the same absurdist 
effect of the mutual annihilation of values 
through the and construction that was 

66 Heresies/idiomA 



"All works, independent 

of the sex of the author, 

were signed with suggestive 

female pseudonyms, and 

the public was given the 

opportunity to attempt a 

sexual attribution according 

to the supposedly natural 

artistic features suggested 

by their own stereotypes." 



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characteristic of totalitarian Soviet lifestyle 
propaganda, as in the periodical titles Science 
and Life, Culture and Life, Soviets and Life, 
Morals and Law, or Temperance and Culture. 

The use of the coordinating conjunction 
seems justified, however, in the October 1990 
Moscow exhibition Femininity and Power, in 
which the presupposition of oppression was 
common to both nouns. Presented here were 
works by a group of women artists who claimed 
no feminist invasion of the male language of 
artistic forms but stood for the woman artist's 
right to be called by her own name, to be 
possessed of her own viewpoint, and to be 
positioned independently in the art world. The 
exhibition was an act that communicated a 
relationship to power and oppression; it was a 
visual gesture counterposed to the pressure of 
public opinion. 

The mother, the lover, the nun, the 
housewife, the beautiful gardener, the fortune 
teller, and the witch are carnival roles that the 
public attributes to the woman artist. So it was 
that the works were, like masquerade 
costumes, carefully hung everywhere in the 
space on dress hangers — the concept of Oleg 
Kulik, the exhibition designer. A huge belt 
hanging down from one of the empty hangers 
constituted the male designer's commentary. 
"Man creates history out of his phobias, 
manias, and other pathologies," says Kulik. 
"For women who want to be involved, weakness 
is impossible. A woman must always be armed 
and buttoned up. When she lets others into the 
sanctuary of her wardrobe, she makes a 
voluntary demonstration of her own weakness, 
she gives up the idea of violence as a form of 
cooperation." On the other hand, the principle 
of presentation chosen by Kulik emphasized 
the work-box associations that usually arise in 
the mind of the viewer when a work of art is 
labeled with a woman's name. Clothes 
hangers, hooks, and ribbons are popular 
symbols of femininity, and such a concept of 
femininity, innocent though it may once have 
seemed, is in fact the stronghold of antiwoman 
attitudes, a kind of gallant ideological 
oppression that discourages the woman artist 
from self-identification with the Feminine. The 
hangers and pretty bows were a means to 
emphasize and thus eliminate from the viewing 
equation the subtle contempt associated with 
what is supposed to be the woman artist's 
"natural" interests. This tinge of antifeminine 
sentiment thus excluded, one can see in every 
work an attempt at building one's own 
staircase to heaven, and if circumstances 
make the woman artist raise this staircase not 
from her studio — the temple of Art — but from 
the kitchen, nursery, bedroom, or barn, then it 



m 



Heresies/idiomA 67 



is not she who is to blame but rather the very 
concept of artistic creativity. 

The collection of work on view was 
deliberately chosen to preclude a stereotypical 
identification with any particular style or genre. 
For a woman artist to be aligned with a 
nameable trend is like changing her name in 
marriage: both recognition and success depend 
on the social weight of the -ism. Attributing art 
by a woman to the -ism of "women's art" or 












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"typically feminine art" (in other words, 
relegating it to the anti-artistic and the low) is 
commonly attempted, and the primary idea of 
the exhibition was to break with this stereotype. 
What follows is an overview of some of the 
work in the show. 

Oiga Astafyeva's objects happen to 
condense numerous semantic areas being 



Ojibra AcTacjibeBa 
Olga Astafyeva 



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A-neKcanapa KopcaKOBa 
Aleksandra Korsakova 



explored separately by other women artists. 
She has discovered a visual classeme, a 
prototypical visual signifier in the shape of an 
egg. The egg is a model of the universe; the 
starting point (ab ovo) and the culmination of 
the man-woman relationship; the localization of 
male and female potency. The egg can be 
nature's creative plan or its sterile dietary 
product. It can be a metaphor of priority, as in 
the learned argument of what came first, the 
chicken or the egg. The philosophical egg is the 
key to the truth. An egg eaten away is pure 
form, art for art's sake. Here the viewer is 
invited to look in small round mirrors, Venus's 
attribute, hanging inside net eggshells. 



Whereas Astafyeva's pieces suggest the 
spectrum of women artists' concerns, the 
works by Aleksandra Korsakova seem to place 
the question of femininity and power in art into 
a temporal dimension. Korsakova, as one of 
the avant-garde women artists and also the 
wife of Vladimir Tatlin, had to bear the burden 
of not only ideological and political persecution 
during the era of Socialist Realism but, in 
addition, that of patriarchal attitudes in art 
interpretation. There is not a single device 
in Korsakova's artistic store that would not be 
interpreted as having been borrowed from one 
male artist or another, which must have been 
the reason why, by the end of her life, she had 



Heresies/idiomA 69 



given up artmaking. Her pastorals are 
reminiscent of the kitsch sold at any market in 
Russia and cultivated as folk art. Badly 
put together and casually made from whatever 
materials were at hand, these works deny 
the very idea of artistic heritage. Her works 
"about nature" as well as her "literary" series 
seem both random and contrary to the 
generally accepted notion of a plot; in them 
one can see exemplified the controversial 
situation of the woman artist in terms of both 
nature and culture — a controversy that is not 
eliminated but only disguised by art-critical 
discourse, when the woman moves from art 
proper into art history. 






TaTbjma CnacojioMCKaa 
Tatyana Spasolomskaya 




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Tatyana Spasolomskaya's "typically 
feminine" works precisely represent 
repressive/repressed femininity. The portrait of 
a woman with her head hidden behind a 
balloon and her fingers bound up with thread 
personifies the feminine mystique that voids 
the woman's self and ties up her creativity. The 
title, An Emigre, is characteristic; lost identity 
and repressed creativity are both associated 
with rejection of the motherland, the loss of 
ground. In Spasolomskaya's paintings the 
subjects of motherland and motherhood, both 
of them holy in Russian culture, seem to reveal 



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^ ^'^PyiHoro Marepaajia caejiaH- 

_^ -, OHH KaK 6u OIVTiaHHH H OTpH- 

'X ^ °^ M y "fleio "TBopqecKoro Ha- 
• Me^Kfly TeM, ee KapraHKH 
1 PMpo «e", KaK h "jmTepaTyp- 



EKaTepHHa KopHHJTOBa 
Yekaterina Kornilova 



an underside, the role of the mother in the lost 
identity of the daughter. As revealed in Sweater 
for the Son, the mother-and-child relationship is 
dangerous; the Cranachesque portrait is a 
ghost of art, the grown-up son a ghost of man. 
The bloody spot on the young boy's chest is a 
strangely reversed oedipal symbol. A taboo of 
Russian traditional art is lifted to show us 
female filicide, an erotic reflection of the royal 
son-killers, Ivan the Terrible and Peter the 
Great. It is a far cry from the idyll of the natural, 









W 



unsophisticated union of mother and child; 
here the child assumes responsibility for 
the mother's creative self-realization 
and satisfaction. 

The world of childhood, without reference 
to the presence or absence of a man, can of 
course also inspire the woman artist. 
Yekaterina Kornilova reproduces her 
daughter's drawing in Camel, a picture as clear 
and unpretentious as the vision of Golgotha 



Heresies/idiomA 71 



was to Christ entering Jerusalem. The artist, 
the eternal child, as Korsakova once said, 
presents the public with his [sic] favorite toys; 
thus Kornilova's Camel was put on props 
and pulled around the room as if it were 
a toy horse. 

Culinary art is the conceptual game of 
Olga Chernysheva — a girl making sandpies 
that could tempt the likes of Humbert Humbert. 
Her pictorial cakes are made of gessoed 
canvas coated with layers of cream in 
accordance with the recipes of the Old 



Ha .f"" pHa( ; MaCTe P B Ma praDB - 
xa , BoMM&ieHHHeBcawepa-) 




Masters, inducing the visitor to poke a probing 
finger into them and taste the high art. The 
process of culinary treatment refreshes 
bedraggled and extinct artistic ideas — Cake 
Napoleon, Baiser Rodin — and revives the 
artistic appetites of overfed viewers. The 
vocabulary of art criticism and the Stalin-era 
best-selling Book of Healthy and Wholesome 
Food concern themselves equally with 
consumption. The former deals with artistic 



Ojibra MepHbimeBa 
Olga Chernysheva 



C3M0H C*yyaHHOCTBIO BMXBa '' 

roMOMeHTa, "nonepeuHocTMo-r, 
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TOMHW B OTHOIUeHHH penpeccnuno>i 
KOHU,eiIU,HH ^CeHCTBeHHOCTH. Xen- 

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HHX", "6e3bICKyCCTBeHHMX' otho- 

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HjiOHa TaHCOBCKasi 
llona Gansovskaya 



taste, the all-devouring passion for art, the 
artist being consumed by ideas or eaten up by 
creative ardor. Consumption is prescribed as a 
way of artmaking and art perceiving. A male 
artist would typically be engaged in preaching 
on the subject, while the woman artist 
experiences the situation personally, for in her 
daily life a woman is constantly being eaten up. 
Consumption and its offshoots — parasitism, 
waste, and pollution — are a direct threat to 
women's very existence. 

Nona Gansovskaya's ecological art, 
whether invoking a stone lying on a deserted 



HSiS 












shore, a horse, a cat, or a desecrated and half- 
drowned church, is first and foremost a 
defense of her own inner world, a world in 
which historical catastrophes follow with the 
same inevitability with which a cat periodically 
grows new whiskers. The virginal intactness of 
this world is carefully preserved. Passion 
becomes slaughter. A cow's skull looks out 
from the red banner in The U.S.S.R. in the 
Struggle for Implementation of the Food 



Heresies/idiomA 73 



mm®. 















3$ 















tail 



Program. We thought we were the guests at the 
feast of life, but it seems we are only 
the leftovers. 

In the works of Lyudmila Markelova, the 
washing of linen is metaphorical purification 
made literal. Stained sheets in the hands of 
the laundress bear traces of dreadful episodes: 
menstruation, perhaps defloration, perhaps 
murder. Here the final judgment as to guilt or 
innocence, as well as the hope of relief from 
the burden of labor and consequent 
purification, lie in the hands of deformed, 
faceless old women. In Knots the artist has 
rejected the mediation of figurative painting and 
accepted personal responsibility for a world 
ruled by oppression. Linen squeezed out by a 
strong and confident hand is twisted into a ring 
and tied into a knot, the eternal mandala of 
woman's fate. 

The titles of Tatyana Petrova's canvases 
are a compromise between noun and verb, 
subject and predicate: Walking Figures, Leave 
Taking, Having a Rest on the Way. They 
represent a static moment within the dynamics 
of a state of motion. The artist paints the 
phase during which the verb creating has not 
yet sufficiently materialized in the object for the 
object to receive a name, the phase during 
which the name has not yet settled on its 



/A 



Tlio/iMHJia MapKe/ioBa 
Lyudmila Markelova 



Ilapa3HTH3M H 1101 Dl-6htv H , cr 

BO^SeaaapHHH nepeBru 01,^* ." 
OT&pocH, 3arpH3HeHHecp L ';uj/n 



xceHnmHM npeacraB^HhucH rin H 
moh yrposoH ee co6a hchhoj, „„" 
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npexjje Bcero CBoero nnvrpcml.'-L 
MHpa, Kyaa iiphhsit h xaMan. n-i 
nycrHHHOM 6epery , H Jioma;n>, v 
nojiysaTormeHHax nopviaimas, Ko - 

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hhk) c hx ooHOBjieHHeM u>min;iMio- 
no^iHTHMecKaa HOBamia - sio h h . 

WTO. UejIbHOCTb, HeTJlOHyiOCTl, 

3Toro MHpa oxpaHaeTcs t:ik, k:u: 
oxpaHserca xojioaHaa hi?Cx.-cho-i'o- 
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CTpaCTb - MSCHHK. KopOBllii ili:pill 

iyiaairr Ha Hac c Kpacnoro sh.'imcmh 
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BeHHVio nporpaMMy"). Mm .ihihi, 
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74 Heresies/idiomA 



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TaTbMHa FleTpoBa 
Tatyana Petrova 



categorical carcass. Backs to the viewer, the 
indistinct figures mark only the starting point 
and the general direction of the movement 
away from the here and now. Europa sits on 
the back of the bull swimming toward the edge 
of the canvas; we cannot see her face, and her 
figure is barely discernible. She will get her 
flesh, features, and colors only when she has 
gone out of the picture and into the space of 
myth. In another work, incorporeal seated 
figures pause in their journey. They seem ready 
to have other artists develop their characters, 
and these artists will indeed follow them until 
the personages end up in the blind alley of a 
happy embrace or against an insurmountable 
stone wall. Meanwhile [as in Goethe's Faust], 
Gretchen asks to have the moment prolonged, 
the appointed day postponed. 

Time is a theme in Natalya Turnova's 
work as well — time falsified and imposed by 
the ideological dictatorship of history. 
Totalitarian oppression is conceived as a male 
face, a stereotypical political persona. The 
genre of the political portrait is here revised; its 
decorative function as a symbol of totalitarian 
bureaucracy is deconstructed through the 
festive brightness of the colors. Turnova refers 
to her caricatures as self-portraits. The 
primitivism of her works has the simplicity of 
narcissist dogma. Here are granddaddy Lenin 
with a good-natured smile on his lips, the 
brilliant strategist Voroshilov playing chess, and 
Ryazhsky (who on earth is he, we try to recall) 
wearing his military gear and a little five- 
cornered star painted on his cheek, just the 



Heresies/idiomA 75 



way preschool-age boys identify Soviet tanks 
when playing war. Evil assumes a surprisingly 
dull appearance, the unpretentiousness 
ofabsolute power that comes from everywhere 
and nowhere. 

In her deconstruction of power the woman 
artist does not confine herself to political icons. 
Natalya l&amenetzkaya investigates its astral 
archetypes. In her work, carnival, mirror, 
labyrinth, and Tower of Babel are occult 
folklore, a collection of symbols of delusion, an 
ideography of crooked paths. Dead metaphors 
of the Holy Word, they conjure their eternal 
witchcraft, generating still more ersatz worlds, 
still new gray spaces, and populating them with 
evil spirits that mock humanity's favored 
subjects — love, childbirth, friendship, 
faithfulness. In Kamenetzkaya's Battle Between 
Angels and Giants the right side and the wrong 
are equally dangerous and wicked; as they 
reflect each other, they symmetrically redouble. 
It is a transformation that occurs on a regular 
basis: from the luminous way into The 
Luminous Way (a classic of Socialist Realist 
filmmaking) and on into Cendero Luminoso. The 
symbol produces new and deadly creatures; it 
bursts at the seams and writhes with inhuman 
pressure from within, and the Virgin with her 
babe in arms flees from the kingdom of Herod. 

i See Alia Yefimov's alternate translation of this 
same text in "Text-Veiled Art from Leningrad" elsewhere in 
this issue. H 



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HaTajiba TypHOsa 
Natalya Turnova 

HaTajibfl KaMeHeuK-aM 
Natalya Kamenetzkaya 






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HaCejiaKDT HX HeMHCTbK}, KOTopasi 

rayMJiHBO HHeueHHpyeT ;iio6hmhc 
CK»KeTbi ye^oBeyecTBa - ;iio6oni>,- 
poxfleHHe, flpyx<6y, bl-jhioi ri>. B 
"BHTBe Meacay AHrejiaMH h Bcjih- 
KaHaMH" o6e ctopohh - i: upaimM- 
h HenpaBaa - oflHHaKOBO onacnu it 
3^o6HM, B3aMMHO oTpaxaioTCfl 
ApyrBflpyre, CMMMeTpiiHHOflBOST- 

C5i. 3aKOHOMepH0CTb npcBpaiuc- 
hhs: CBeMbift nyxb - "CBeMi>m , 
nyTb" - "Sendero luminoso". Ha- 

HJIOflHB aCTpajlbHOH flpJIHH, chmbw 
TpeUIHT no UIB3M H KOpe*HTCfl 0T 

qyAOBHiuHoronaBjieiii!-! ,! - ;i ^' rpl1 ;. 

h 6ex HT H3 uapcTBa Wpona Map»» 



: M^afleHueM Ha pyKax. 



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76 Heresies/idiomA 



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TEKCTByAJlbHOE 
HCKyCCTBO 

jlEHHHFPA^A 

"MyXMHHa He Mo^ceT 6t>n'b 
cBo6ofleH ao Tex nop, noKa He 
cBo6o>K/ieHa :*ceHmHHa" 

(U33flyH) 



MO>KHO JIH rOBOpHTb O BblCTaBKe 

aetfCKoro HCKyccTBa, ecjin Ha nefi He 
npeflCTaBneHbi pa6o™ my>kmhh? npucyTCTBi-ie 
mvjkmhh Ha ">KeHCKOH BbicTaBKe" ByajinpyeTCH 
rpeMH noBopoTaMii coKpbiBaiiHfl: 

|vJKOJlH L ieCTBeHHbIM (M\/>KCKOe 
flpeflCTaBHTe/IbCTBO MHHHMajlbHO) 

-iiMeHHbiM (paSora ne noani-icai-ibi 

MyXCKHMH HMenaMH) 

-TeMaTH L iecKHM (H3o6pa>KaeMoe TaK hjih 
tinaie CB5i3aHO c TeMoi-i ncuia). 

Hepe3 pacTWKaecTBJieHi-ie xyao>KHHKaM 
npeflocTasjieHa B03MO>KnocTb, ne npnGeraa k 

MHMHKpHH HJIH MHMeCHCy, BOHTH B npOUeCC 

craH0B/ienH5i >KeHiniiHOH. 
XapaKTep BbicTaBKii, npe/icTaB/miomeH 
xeHCKoe TBopMecTBO b /leHHiirpaae, 
onpeflejiaeTCfl MaTepnajiOM — TEKCTM/1EM. 

toeCTBO Tpa/IHUHOHHO CMHTaeTCfl 

HCKyccTBOM, npeflHa3HaMeHHMM jjjm >KeHinnH. 
OapKH, np^/jyinne HHTb Cy/jb6bi, mokct 6biTb, 
BBJinioTCJi HanQo/iee 3ara/j0MHbiMH h, BMecTe c 
T€M, HanSojiee npHT5iraTejibHbiMH o6pa3aMH 
-leKCTHJibmnu. 

"MaTepi-iajibnayi KyjibTypa" /leHi-mrpaaa 
HMeeT TaKxe h 6oraTyio oTeqecTBei-iHyio 

TPaflHUHK): OT KOHTppeJlbeipOB TaTJIHHa ao 

PocnHcen no TKann /IioOobh nonoBofi. Kpotvie 
T °ro, MaTepHajibiioe" TaK h He nojiyMH/io b 
Hamefi cn-pane 3KBMBajieHra, paBHoueHHoro 
™hh, ocTaiomeHca no cyrn eAHHCTBeHHbiM 
lOBapoM-npoayKTOM o6Mena. 

- TKaHb OflHOBpeMeinio MBJiaeTCfl h He 
• ^tch npoH3BeflenneM HCKyccTBa. B 

WHe ot KapTHHbi, xojicra, npHMymerocfl 
. A C/105IMH KpacKM, ona pyKO iBopua H 

e CTBeHHa B CBOeM ITpO/lOJDKeHHH 

wiOBeqecKoro Te/ia (6y/ib to o/jeK^a hjih 
CTb flOMaumero nirrepbepa). Tk-aub 
^JpaMHa h HCKpenHa. nponsBeaenne 

- v HHa) BemecTBeiiHO b CBoen npeTeH3HH na 

- - aTe P H aJibHocTb. Tk-aub — MaTepn>i, 

1 flaiomaa cmhcjjoboh it peajibnon 




Olesya Turkina & Victor fVSazin, curat 
OjiecH TyPKHHA, Bhktop MA3HH 



Text-Veiled Art 
from Leningrad 

"Men cannot be free until women are 
liberated. " 

Mao Tse-Tung 



Do we speak of an exhibition being 
devoted to women's art if it does not include 
any works by men? The presence of men at 
this "women's exhibition" is veiled by three 
levels of concealment: the qualitative (men's 
work is represented minimally); the nominal 
(works are not signed with male names); and 
the thematic (images are in some way relevant 
to gender issues). Such disguises give men the 
opportunity to experience the process of 
becoming a woman without having to rely on 
mimicry or mimesis. 

The character of the exhibition, which 



Heresies/idiomA 77 



represents the work of women artists in 
Leningrad, is defined by material, that is, 
textile. Weaving is traditionally considered to be 
a woman's art. The Parkas spinning the thread 
of Fate provide perhaps the most mysterious 
and the most appealing image of textile 
workers. The "material culture" of Leningrad 
also evokes a rich national tradition that ranges 
from Tatlin's counterreliefs to Lyubov Popova's 
textile paintings. Besides, in our country the 
"material" still has no equivalent in value to 
fabric, which remains a consumer product, an 
object of exchange. 

Fabric is and yet is not a work of art. In 
contrast to a painting — a canvas hidden under 
layers of paint — it is a tangible, natural 
continuation of the human body, whether as 
clothing or part of a domestic interior. Fabric is 
transparent and sincere. While a work of art — 
let us say a painting — aspires to 
immateriality, fabric is material that exhibits 
both a semantic and a real transparency: a veil. 

A veil, being a feminine garment, creates 
a field of tension between the eye and the 
object being looked at. One can say that a veil 
disperses the phallocentric (male) gaze, turning 
a woman into a misty object of desire. 
Sometimes it is a man who hides under the 
veil, which is how the use of a material atypical 
for men's art can fool a viewer. Textile is a 
man's chador. Text-il and text-elle are 
interwoven into the heterogeneous fabric of this 
exhibition and acquire new meanings in its 
context. Voila the exhibition's subtext. 



Clever Little Hands 

The text is mine. (V.M.) 

The project is ours. 

(O.T. & V.M.) 

The curator is Olesya. 

The $$ sponsor is Mustafa. 

Where: Leningrad, 

a certain mansion 

(once a brothel, 

now the Club Mayak). 

When: 1990.05.17 

(Olesya 's birthday). 



Clever Little Hands is the last in a three- 
part cycle of exhibitions dealing with gender. 
The gender differences of the first exhibition 
(Woman in Art, Leningrad) disappeared under 
the chador of the second (Text-Veiled Art from 
Leningrad, Moscow) and finally dissolved in the 
anonymity of the third (Clever Little Hands, 
Leningrad). The anonymity allows us to 

78 Heresies/idiomA 



npo3paMHOCTbio: Byajib. 

Byajib, ABJifltfCb npeflMei-OM *encKor 
Tya.neTa, co3,aaeT npocTpaHCTBo HaTH*^, ft 
Mex<£y nna30M h o6i>eKTOM Ha6jiio/. ( en H $| *' 
Mo>kho cKa3aTb, mto Byajib pacceroaer 
cfajuioueHTpHqecKHH (My^cxoti) B3ni S m u- 
>KeHmHHy, npeBpama* ee b "cMy-rnbifi Q heK . 
>Ke.naHHfl". Hnorm nofl Byajibio CKpuBaercji ' 
My>KMHHa. TaK Hcnojib30BaHHe hko&,i 

HeCBOHCTBeHHOrO My>KCKOMy TBOpi-iecTBV 

MaTepHa/ia MO>KeT o6MaHyTb m6mom- Tem 
TEKCTH/lb - nAPAH/l>KA am MY>K<-IHHL,| 
TeKCT-i! h TeKCT-elle cruie-raioTCJi b 
reTeporeHHyio TKaHb 3Kcno3nuHH, o6peran 
HOBbie 3HaqeHHA b KomreKCTe BbicTaBKH. 

Voila 



"yMEJIbIEP>»IKir 

Mpa, npHBer! 

M.HKO roponjitocb, nosTOMy 

no comment: 

TeKCT — MOM (EM.) 

LIpoeKT — Ham (O.T.+ B.M.) 
0pra.HM3a.ma — Ojiecu (O.T.) 
Col\. o6cjiy>KHBaHHe 
(ScuoHCop) — Mycraipa 
Mecro npoBeaeHHfl 
JlenMHrpa/i, neKHfi OcoCmnK 
(6. ny6j\H<4Hbm /jom, mme ' 
KJiy6 "ManK") 
BpeMfi -- 17.05.90 
(fleHb PoxAeHHH Omen) 
lienyeM, Ojieca & Binn ; 



YMEJIME PYHKH 3aMMKaroT 

TpOHyHHH U.HKJI BblCl :ii:0~. o6|W- 

meHHbix k nojiy. TIojiobhc pa3Jin- 

MH5I nepBOH BHCTaBKH ("/Ui'lllUillW 

b HCKyccTBe". JleHHHrpaa) coxpM- 
jiHCb nos napaHA>KOH BTopoii 
("TeKCTByajibHoe hckycctbo JIc- 
HHHrpaAa". MocKBa) m. ii.ikoih. i :i. 

CTHpaiOTCil B aHOHHMHOiM II 

TpCTbeftCyMEJIblEPyiKlJ". 
JleHHHipafl). Ahohhmiiu" sai<:n^- 
T ep no3BOJiseTHeKOM.\u'P''."™" 3 "" 
poBaTb oTHomeHHe k HMeim, Ilo-^ 
jiy, CfeeKxy. npHCBOcii.u-oo.ii.iii'- 

HeB03MOX<H0. ,.._. 

YMEJIME PYHKH ffe^aiox cooct 

BeHHO npoHSBeaeHHe iu-ki^t- 3 - 
ohh 6es HfleojiormecKoro nocpw 
HHKanopoxflaioTMHpofoeKTO . 



■I'D* 

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■-■fCK- 

iiabi 
s-yce 

8CI« 

men 

irea 

■■■cnof 

JIJ31 

■-■iiepi 

,ot 

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cr.l 

IlilU 

niie 

crc- 

est? 

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;Sei 

CTH 
:• a 
Tpe 

W 

yw 

K>r 
nan 

3.1K 

w 

Ml-I 

xei 

CTB 

urn 
ii.li 

AVI 

MC- 

:« 

Me 

CO/ 
31.1 

He 
Mi 
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ca 
Lul- 
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,' „ a ji npOH3BCACHHC HCKyCCTBa, 
. rraiOT 2CH3Hb WCJlOBCKy: MCJ10- 

,'v-npoAy KT HCKyccTiui. Homo 
'ibilis contra Homo sapiens. 
J v jgj]bIE PYHKM OTMaioTCsi 11c- 

' CTJ! y. PyKH U.CJ1HKOM OTBCTCT- 

Xihw 3a cflcjiaiinoe b oTMy^aaio- 
' ( n poueccc npon3BOACTBa 

r r pady- rna ^ e ^ M 3a anapxHMecKH 
oHTaH Hwe xecTW xyao>KHHKOB, 

■H3I)IBaiOmHX K. >KH3HH "HC-npOH3- 

BeaeHHH HCKyccTBa" (tachisme) . 
•VMEJIWE pyHKM" - TOTa/ihuasi 
MaT epna^n3au,nsi hach HCKyccTBa, 
ncneBOfl ero b o6jiacTi> TaK-rmibHO- 
^;'0ca3aeM n o6pa3yjomnii koh- 
tekCT ready-made ABopua, ocsi3ae- 
MUitnoMeiiieHHbie b hcm npoii3Be- 
jeHiia. Oc5!3aTejii>HocTb B036yjKfla- 
et, PyKH JIec6oca h pyKH, ocsi3aio- 
mneo6i>eKT (HCKyccTBa). Mhtch- 
UHeft npoH3BeaeHna-aKTa oi<a3biBa- 
dcaHe o6T>eKT xe/iaHHsi, ho xejia- 
HiieKaKTaKOBoe. 

yMEJIHE PYHKM npoTMniBaiOT- 
cstApyrK flpyry: Ona + Ona. Hac- 

JJIbHOCTb HeKOMMCpMeCKHX 0TI10- 

nieiniH b HCKyccxBCHHOM o6Meiie 
criipaeTcsi b caMOTOJKAecTBeimocTH 
Hcccra. JIro6oBb k HcxyccrBy hc 
ipefiycTOTBera: 51 upeA-naraio BaM 
pyKy h 51 npouiy Bainen pyKH. 
YMEJIWE PyHKH. Bi,icBo6oxAa- 
H)io6T)eKT, ocTaBjisisi 3a co6oh 2<e- 
.lamie. 06'beKTH HCKyccTBa ycKOJib- 
33K)TH3-n0A BJiaCTM o6oacecTBJi5iio- 
iiero-x&naiomero. TlpoAyKTH 06- 
weiia (npesMeTM HCKyccTBa h/jujiu 

SCHmHHW) HaMHHaiOT B3aHMOAefi- 

WBOBaTb (npeAMex -npeAweT, ?icen- 
m»na-xeHmnHa) 6e3 iiocpeACTBa 
ManpaBjicHHoro Ha mix rjia3a->Ka>K- 
Jyinero:Ae(peTHii]H3au,n5r. Iipefl- 
leroTpaxaeTCfl b npcAMexe k3k 
jJK&WHHa OTpaxaeTCsi b jkchiu,hhc. 

»CCI0 3K0H0MHKH c6epe>KCHHSI - 

^xpaHeHHH cpajmoca - 3annMaeT 
KOKOMHKa TOTanbHoro pacxoAa. 

xsaTKa - OTcyTCTBue cpajuioca - 
^OMneHCHpyeTcstMaHyajibnocTbio. 
y MEJIbIE Py^KH" OTCTpansnoT- 

WnpHBiuernpoBannbix otho- 

Hll >[ (cHMMeTpnmn>ix: Myxynna 
•^y*VHHa, acHMMexpuqubix: 
J*Mii H a + jKCHimiHa) . Hewepap- 

HecKlIe Jiec6HHCKHe othoujchhm 



: h; 



1 P«i;aK)T 



n PHnyAHTe^bHoe cyiue- 



r», v - - -™vny cbocmv nojiy. 



^HueHHSMeny, 

'd°° oflKa KcCo6o H .He5]xoHy 

'™Te6 a .HofljiK)6jno.TBoc 
m ^m. Pycpb _ H 



decommercialize the relationships among 
Name, Gender, and Object. Appropriation is no 
longer possible. Here there are no labels. In the 
previous exhibitions everything was ciphered 
into pseudonyms, all men castrated 
themselves with female names, and now there 
are no names at all. The death of the author 
has arrived, and it is now impossible to 
determine the artist's gender. Everyone is 
saying that all of us are lesbians, one way or 
another, regardless of gender, age, or 
character. 

Clever hands make the work of art; they 
give birth to the world of objects without 
ideological mediation. In creating works of art 
they give life to humans. The human being is a 
product of art. Homo habilis contra Homo 
sapiens. 

Clever hands are fully responsible for the 
result of the alienated process of production 
(the readymade) as well as for the anarchic, 
spontaneous gestures of artists who generate 
nonart objects (tachisme). 

Clever Little Hands is the total 
materialization of the idea of art, its 
transposition into the sphere of the tactile. The 
readymade palace context is sensual, tactile, 
and the objects placed within it are sensual as 
well. Palpability is arousing: the hands of 
Lesbos and the hands that feel the object 
(of art). It is not the object of desire but desire 
itself that turns out to be the intention of a 
creative act. 

Clever hands are extended toward each 
other: she + she. The ideal of noncommercial 
relations of artificial exchange is dissolved in 
the reality of gesture. The love of art demands 
no answer. I offer you my hand and I ask you 
for yours. 

Clever hands liberate the object, leaving 
only the desire. Objects of art evade the power 
of the one who deifies/desires. Products of 
exchange (works of art and/or women) begin to 
interact (object to object, woman to woman) 
without the mediation of the desiring eye: 
defetishization. An object is reflected in another 
object as a woman is reflected in another 
woman. The place of economy/parsimony/ 
preservation-of-the-phallus is now occupied by 
the economy of total expenditure. Shortages — 
the lack of phallus — are compensated by 
manuality. 

Clever Little Hands disengage themselves 
from privileged relations: symmetrical, as in 
man + man, and asymmetrical, as in man + 
woman. Nonhierarchical lesbian relations reject 
social constraints and betrayal of gender. With 
You as with Myself. Not "I want to love you" but 
"I love you." The birth of You. Ruth. H 



Heresies/idiomA 79 



Yelena Selina 



«PABOTHHllA» 



EjieHa CEJ1HHA 



In September 1990 an all-woman exhibition, 



The Working Woman, opened in Moscow, the 



first self-proclamation by a group dedicated to 



women's issues and one of the first exhibitions 



based on feminist discourse to emerge from 



Moscow conceptualism. Participants included 



Anna Alctnik, Yelena Elagina, Sabina Hensgem, 



Vera Khlebnikova, Maria Konstantinova, Irina 



Nafetiova, and Alona StiaMiovskaya. 

Specific to contemporary Russian feminist 
discourse is women's desire for cooperation 
and acceptance rather than radical separatism. 
Perhaps the deeply-rooted Russian patriarchal 
tradition which prescribes a clear place for 
women within the family structure, is 
responsible for this tendency. The rise of 
feminism during the 1920s and 1930s, and 
the resulting ideological pressure to equally 
weight the feminine and the masculine, was 
oriented toward women's liberation,which in 



B ceHTflSpe 1990 ro/ja b MocKBe 

COCTOfl.nOCb OTKpblTHe BblCTaBKH "PaSOTHHUa". 

Cpe/jH ee y-iacTHHq-HpHHa HaxoBa, EjieHa 
E.narHHa, MapHfl KoHCTaHTHHOBa, Bepa 
XjieSHHKOBa, AHHa AjibqyK, CaSHHa X3iicreM 
h AJieHa LLIaxoBCKafl. BbicTaBKa 
o/iHOBpeMeHHO h apT->KecT h penpe3eiiTami« 
rpynnu, njiaHHpyromefi npoBecra pna aKmu'i, 
nocBJimeHHbix ">xeHCKOH" npofijieMaTMKe. 
"PafioTHHua" — nepBoe BbicTyaneHne, 
aKTyajTH3Hpyiomee cfeMHHHCTCKHH flHCKypc 
BHyTpH MOCKOBCKOrO KOHuenTya.nH3Ma. 
CneuH$HKa MecTHoro cpeMHHH3Ma He crojibKO 

B >KeJiaHHH flOMHHHpOBaTb, CKOJlbKO B 
CTpeMJieHHH COTpy^HHMaTb, <4TO, BO3MO>KH0, 

CB5i3aHO c pyccKofi naTpHapxa^bHOH 
TpaAHUHefi, corviacHO kotopoh «eHmHHe 
6buio onpe^ejieHO qeTKoe MecTO bo 
BHyTpeHHeB ceMeflHofi HepapxHH. 
<t>eMHHHCTCKHH 3ana.n 20-30-x to/iob, c 
nocne/iyiomeH n,aeo.nonmecKOfl paSoTOfi b 
HanpasjieHHH ypaBHHBaHt-isi MyxcKoro h 
>KeHCKoro He crojibKO npHBe^H k 
ranoTeTHqecKOMy ocBodo>K/ieHHio >KCHmnnbi, 
cKO/ibKO norpy3HJiH ee b nny6oKyio 6e3wy 
e>KeflHeBHO noflaBJifleMoro "H". K 

Tpa/JHUHOHHOH, reHeTHMeCKH o6yCJ10B^eHHO« 

/joMHHaHTe naTpHapxa^bHoro cthjih pyccKOii 
>kh3hh ,no6aBHJiocb flaBJieHHe couHyMa, 
npoBOUHpyioinero ee Ha aKTHBHyio 

CaMOCTOflTeJlbHyiO /jeaTejlbHOCTb, MTO 
nopOaHJTO BHyTpeHHHH KOHCJinHKT Me>Kfly 

HauHOHajibHOH opraHHKoft h HaBJi3biBaeM0fi 
H/jeoJiorHefi. 

BbicTaBKa "Pa6oTHHua" — CBoero poM 
Hcc^e/ioBaHHe coBpeMeHHoro coctojwhh 
3Toro (feHOMeHa. Ee 6e3bicKycHafl 
nepcoHa>KHOCTb, oTcyTCTBHe e^Hnoii 

CIO>KeTHOH JTHHHH BblflBJlfllOT cneUHfJWKy 
MeCTHOTO KOHTeKCTa. K HeCOMHeHHbIM 

y/jaqaM BbicraBKH othochtch ee Ha3Banne, 



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HHflHBHflya/IbHblX npOBBJieHHH, C OflHOfi 

tjjppoHH, h c apyroii — onpeaejifliomee 
xapaKTep nccjie,aoBaHH5i: pa6oTy c 

HfleOHOrHMeCKHMH KJlMUie, COLU-iyMOM. 

Mockobckhh KOHnenTyajin3M, b Jii-me 
npeflCTaBHTejieii My>KCKoro nojia, paSoTaji 
Hanepncpepi-111 coBeTCKoro KyjibTypnoro 
npocTpancTBa. VMacn-iHUbi BbicTaBKH 
HccjieflyiOT nepiKJiepitio 3toh nepucpepnH, me 
pacnojiaraiOTCH cyrySo A'eHCKne (j)aHTOMbi 
couHajiHCTHqecKoro co3Ham-i5i. nponycKan hx 

Mepe3 Ce6fl OTMaCTH OTO)KfleCTBjmflCb C HI-IMH, 

ohh BHCTynaioT csoero po,aa Me/inyMaMH 
coBeTCKOH pea^bHOCTH. KoHTaMHHamiyi 
«Horo TBopqecKoro "5\" h Maxepi-iajia 
HccjieflOBaHHfl paSoraer Ha BbiJiBJieHne 

MeCTHHX KOJUieKTMBHblX KOMnjieKCOB. 

- AHHa AiibqyK aKTyaJiH3npyeT 
•TpaflHUHOHHyio "Kyxonnyio" reiviaTHKy: 
Wider, kuchen, kirche — no-coBeTCKH. Com-iyM, 
■noflaBJijifl npi-icymyio »<eHCKO(i ripi-ipo^e 
/^poTHMnocTb, nepeaKuei-iTiipyeT ee c o6i>eKTa 
Hanpouecc, hhumh cjioBaMH, My^mma b 

KeHCKOM C03HaHHH BblTeCH5ieTC51 ynopHofi 

Bopbgoa 3a Ka>KaoflneBHoe Hacbimemie. 

?03HHKaeT (peTMUjH3aUMfl OflHOrO H3 

HHCTpyMeHTOB 3toh 6opb6bi, r^e B "KOHUe 
^HHejiH" Mepuaer cjm6o Bbipa>KenHbiH 

WflHHeCKHH OTpoCTOK, TepfllOUlMH CBOIO 

-. yaJibHocTb 6jiaroflapa norpy)KeHHio b 
.^Mnpouecc. OSbeKTaM M.KoncTaHTHHOBOH, 

PeflCTaBjieHHUM na BbicraBKe, TaK>Ke 
- P'cyme CMemenne aKnei-iTOB. Ee spoTHKa 

eUHpyeTcyi na naeojion-mecKoe, npi-meM 
."„ HT ^ eflHee n epe>KHBaeTC5i KaK ryiyOoKO 

* • MHbIrt ai <T nOJIHOrO nOflMHHeHI-151 H 
HUH C Og'beKTOM "BO/K^eJieHMJl". 

^PeKpacHoe 



E.EiiarHHOfi m-uaeTcsn KaK 
MeqTa Yomo coBeTHKyc" >KeHci<oro 




practice turned out to be, only hypothetical. 
This period plunged women into an abyss in 
which their sense of self was suppressed daily. 
To the pressures of the patriarchal style of 
Russian life was added another kind of 
pressure: a social pressure elevated by Soviet 
ideology to the status of an ideal, requiring of 
women the independence and ability to support 
themselves and their families. An exalted 
image of the hard-working, androgynous woman 
became the symbol of liberation, fostering a 
conflict between the demands of national 
tradition and the realities of social life. 

For over a decade, working on the 
periphery of Soviet cultural life, Moscow 
conceptualist artists (predominantly men) have 
been exploring the crippling legacy of Soviet- 
style socialist consciousness. The Working 
Woman participants are working on the 
periphery of this periphery, the margins of 
these margins — tiptoeing in the space where 
the specifically feminine phantoms of socialist 
consciousness dwell. Working through these 
phantoms and partially identifying with them, 
the artists function as the "mediums" of 
contemporary Soviet life. 

The exhibition is an exploration of the 
inner conflicts experienced by contemporary 
Russian women, and its title successfully 
brings out the duality of their concerns. The 
Working Woman reflects, on the one hand, the 
striving for individuality and independent 
expression, and evokes, on the other hand, the 
ideological cliche that historically turned this 
striving into the very means of women's 
oppression. Thus the title refers to a collective 
complex of sorts, the symptom of which is the 
unshakable feeling that the personal, creative 
"I" has been ideologically contaminated. 
Each artist approaches this phenomenon in her 
own way. 



Heresies/idiomA 81 



Anna Alchuk renders traditional "kitchen" 
subjects — kinder, kuchen, kirche — in a 
Soviet fashion. For Alchuk, everyday life 
suppresses women's sexuality and deflects it 
from the male love object to the process of the 
daily procurement of food, from sexual 
satisfaction to the permanent struggle for 
nourishment. This idea of the social deflection 
of female erotic energy is also present in the 
work of Maria Konstantinova. Here ideology 
becomes the object of desire and is imagined 
as an intimate act of complete and abandoned 
union. Yelena Eiagina explores a different 
object of desire — the domestic comfort ever 
unattainable for a female homo soveticus. 

Irina Nakhova's installation is based on 
the game of "secrets" that is so popular among 
the girl children of Moscow. In both spring and 
fall they bury all sorts of brightly colored candy 
wrappers in the earth, cover them with pieces 
of glass, and then search for the caches that 
others have buried — their secrets. The 
principle of Nakhova's installation is similar. 
She has placed the paintings of Alona 
Shakhovskaya inside plexiglas boxes, covered 
them with glass, and strewn soil over them. As 
viewers look for the paintings and thus uncover 
the secrets, they are brought back to memories 
of their own childhoods. Though a parody, the 
installation is lyrical as well. In the context of 
the exhibition, Shakhovskaya's voluntary 
sacrifice of her work can be interpreted as an 
allegory of the Russian female consciousness 
— submissive, self-denigrating, and self- 
sacrificing. 

Vera Khlebnikova collages the print from 
old newspapers as if weaving lace, but behind 
the textual delicacy of the collages lies a harsh 
fable, since her raw material is time and 
history. This series walks the border between 
historical research and a purely decorative use 
of text, and successfully evokes the enigma of 
a Soviet ideology that managed to combine 
totalitarian strictness with aesthetic self- 
containment. 

Although Sabina Hensgem can hardly be 
called a native Moscow artist, her work fits well 
into the context of this exhibition. Her piece is 
based on a play on the word Sophia, which 
refers both to the name of a Moscow 
restaurant and to the female personification of 
wisdom. In the oscillation of meanings the 
sacred is brought down to the level of the 
profane, and the everyday takes on the glow of 
grand symbolism. 

The participant-planners of The Working 
Woman are to be congratulated for this 
beginning, and we await their upcoming 
interventions. H 



... a different 

object of desire — 

the domestic 

comfort ever 

unattainable for 

a female homo 

soveticus." 



noJia: >KejiaHHbiH $hhhui, chmboji 
6.naroycTpoeHHoro dbua. KoHKpeTHan peajn u 
nepeBeaeHHafl b bmcokhh pen-icrrp KaK fjy 
(j)HKCHpyeT HaBfl3MHBblM CJDaHTOM. E.EjiariiHa 
3CTeTH3Hpy* reKCT, mer OKaryio cjropMyjiy 
oflHoro H3 aKTya/ibHbix acneKTOB 
KOJi/ieKTHBHoro 6ecco3naTejibHoro. c 
KOJUieKTHBHbiM 6ecco3HaTejibHbiM pa6oTaer h 
HpHHa HaxoBa. Ee HHCTaji^^UHH jihphmho 
napoflHiiHa. FlpaKTHMecKH Bee mockobckhc 
ZieBoqKH npoxoA^T qepe3 yBJieqeHHe nrpoii « 
"ceKpeT": BecnoH h oceHbio ohh 3aKanbiBaioT h 

3CMJIIO pa3HOUBeTHbie (fjaHTHKH, HaKpblBaiOT HX 

CTeKJiOM, noTOM HmyT. MHCTajuiflUHfl HaxoBoij 
nocTpoeHa no cxo^HOMy nprnuHny: b 
cKOJioqenHbie H3 oprajiHTa hiuhkh ona 
noMecTHJia KapTHHbi A.lIJaxoBCKOM, HaKpbijia 
hx CTeKJioM h 3acbina.na 3eMJieH. 3pnTejib, 
npHiiiefliiiHH Ha BbiCTaBKy, pacKanbmafl 
"ceKpeT" h TeM caMHM yqacTBy^ b nponecce 
norpyxaeTCfl b .qeTCTBO. napoflHHHocTb 
HHcrajumuHH TecHO CB5i3aHa c ee jihphkoh, 
h6o ee mo>kho npoMHTaTb h KaK "o6Ha>KeHne" 
apxeojiorHqecKofi npHpo^bi KOHuenryajibnoro 
Meioaa.- B KOHTeKCTe BbicTaBKH floSpoBOJibiioe 
">KepTBOBaHHe" A.lilaxoBCKOH npoMHTbiBaerca 
apxeTHnoM pyccKoro >KeHCKoro co3Hamia: 
no/iMHHeHHH, caMono>KepTBOBaHH5i. r'a3eTi-ibie 
BapnauHH Bepbi XjicShmkoboh HanoMHi-iaior 
npouecc ruieTeHHfl Kpy>KeB. 0/]HaKO 3a hx 
BHflHMOH He>KHOCTbK) CTOHT >KecTKan (padyjui: 
MaTepua^ XiiedHHKOBOfi — BpeMA, hctophh. 
Ee ra3eTHbie cepHH cyuiecTByroT Ha tohkom 
rpaHH Me>K/iy Hcane/ioBaHHeM cMbicjia h 

ZteKOpaTHBHMM HCn0^b30BaHHeM TeKCTa, MTO 
afleKBaTHO TOTajlHTapHOH >KeCTKOCTH 

coBeTCKOH H/jeoJiorHH c ee nomra 

Xy/lO>KeCTBeHHOH CaMO/lOCTaTOMHOCTblO. 

"PadoTHHua" oTqacTH HHTepHauiioHajibna: 
CadHHa XsHcreM c dojibuioK HaTH>KKOH Mo>KeT 
CMHTaTbC55 MOCKOBCKOH xy,ao>KHHueH. BMecie 
c TeM ee padoTa opram-iMHO BKJiioqaeTCfl b 

KOHTeKCT BblCTaBKH. OHa CTpOHTCfl Ha 

nepeMeHHOH Hrpe cmmcjiob: "CocJwji" — KaK 

MOCKOBCKHH peCTOpaH H KaK ABJieHHe AH5I- 

Cocf)HH, coBpeMeHHoro BoruiomeHHfl cnMBOJia 
npeMyapocTH. MepuaHHe cmmcjiob 

/IHCKpeziHTHpyeT Cepbe3HOCTb H B03BOflHT 
OdbWeHHOCTb B OCOdyK) 3HaMHMOCTb. 

BbicTaBKa."Pa6oTHHua" — nepBasi b pswy 
aKUHH, npe/jnoJiaraeMbix yqacTHHuaMH. I a 

MO>KHO n03ApaBHTb C HaMaJlOM H >KflaTb 

cjieflyiouiHx apT-xecTOB. M 



82 Heresies/idiomA 



" H. 



II 

11X 

lOl'l 



e 

TO 

toe 



la: 



;eT 
re 



Korfla a ziyMaio o tom, OTKyaa 
oHaT aKaa, AjiCKcaH/jpa [Kopcaico- 

„ a ] B 3fl^aCb, H MTO OHa fl/IS! MCHJ1 

Ha ijHT, 51 Bceraa BcnoMiinaio ce 
cepino pucyHKOB no JIoctocbckomv 
. jjjih MCH5i 3to ee HenpeB30JiflCH- 

aflB epuinna. FIocjic ec cmcpth 51 
ja6pa;ia cpoTorpaapnn dthx phcvh- 
k ob ce6e - mto6m BcerAa HMCTb hx 
ne peflMa3aMH. Docjie bccx tcx 
ijiOiuMapoB, KOTopbieona nocMepT- 
HOMHe noAapmia - sto to cahhct- 
B eHHoe, mto He Aacr MHe pa30Mapo- 
^jaxbcsi. KeM ona 6buia ajisi Mensi? 
: GnepBa KyMttpoM, noTOM npiiiujia 

KjOpHTHMHOCTb, flOXOflHBUiasi MyTb 
jIHHeflO HeHaBHCTH, nOTOM npOCTO 

iimepec. 

JK JIio6oBb k Heft AaBHo npomjia, 
noTOM6bwo uyBCTBOflo^ra, ;«a- 

JlOCTb II - OXHflaHHC H HHAOKAa, 
HTO MOXCT 6bITb, 3TOT B3JICT nOBTO- 
pilTCSI - BCAb MejIOBCK OHa HaCTOJIb- 
SKOTa^aHTJlHBblH, MOJKCT 6bITb, 
CmeHTO-TO CMOMT... A BOT KaKOH 

aee^ro6njia - t3koh bh ee y>Ke hc 
mwajiH... Box Toii - nepiioaa ee ko- 
HypHHa Bojibmoii Mo/iManoBKe. 
Toroa OHa 6buia 6eAHa, h a noMora- 
jia6bi en, ecjin 6h ona npoAO/i>Ka- 
7iaTaKOH6biTb, BcerAa. HoMorajia 
6h m b ee HiimeTe icyAa c 6ojibiueii 
oxotoh, moh eii HbmeiuneH. MepT 
BceMSTHM uivthji. BnpoMeM, 51 OT- 
flimarocb TeM ace, mto ii y nee Mejib- 

KajIO - KpaflHHM n0AP0CTKOBbIM 
MaKCHMajIH3MOM. A BOo6lH.e Mbl c 

neitoueHb pa3Hbie. Cxo>kh mm c 
Heftpa3Be mto TsiroTemieM k tomv, 
HToceirac Ha3biBaiox 3acneKyjin- 

P0BaHHWM CJIOBOM - "flVXOBHOe". 

OqeHb TpyAHO cyAirrb o nefi, no- 
Tomy mto ona yxHTpujiacb cacjuiti) 
Tafmy - k coxajieHino, neKpacii- 
,?yio, 6e3o6pa3Hvro - H3 cboch 
, CMepTH h Tai'my npocTO nyTaHyio 
} i3Ha<rajia CBoeft xyAOKecTBennoii 
*H3HH. H3 TOTO, mto OHa ACJia/ia b 
|U-eroflH HHHero He coxpaHHjiocb. 
A Pa6oTw 30-x si Bimejia, ohh Ta- 
. j1 <ihtjihbh. Ohh onenb TajiaH-nm- 



»M, HO 



BOT OCTpOH HHAHBHAyajIbHO- 



H . KaK b nocjieAinie roau, b mix 

■ ^HaMHoro Ae;ia.na khhxhoh 
r Paq)iiKH. Cthxh Airrajia FHAauia, 

*CSKHe TaKHC peBO/HOHHOHHbie 

T y4KH. PeBo.Hioii,iioHHbie, nyojni- 
^'CTHMecKue, 51 y Hee BHAcna xa- 
- e ~ T ora3eTiiwe Bbipe3Kii c piicyH- 

.. aMlI naM51THbIX MeCT. OnCHb- 



A Personal Recollection of Aleksandra Korsakova 
As Told to Irina Sandcmirskaya by Olga Petrochuk 



Editor's note: Olga Petrochuk, a Moscow art 
historian, was a personal friend of Korsakova's for 
several decades. Elsewhere in this issue are 
biographical notes and a transcription of a 
conversation amo.'.g Korsakova, Sandomirskaya, and 
Petrochuk that took place in Moscow in the spring 
of 1990. The following translation has been edited 
for the sake of both conciseness and clarity; 
the Russian version includes, among other things, 
more discussion of film and of Conrad von Veidt. We 
have tried to preserve the sense of Petrochuk's 
exuberance and of her (as well as, of course, 
Korsakova's) involvement in the art world of Moscow 
, during the earlier years of this century. 

When I try to understand what Aleksandra 
Korsakova's origins were and what she means 
to me, I always recall her drawings based on 
Dostoyevsky, which are to my mind her 
pinnacle. After she died I took pictures of these 



Heresies/idiomA 83 









oneHb TO^Hbie TaKne. He CKaxcy, 
mto cpOTorpacpHMecKHe, noTOMy 

MTO CJIHIHKOM TOHKO.npOCTO OMeHb 
TOMHbie HaTypHbie 33pHCOBKH. C 

HHTepbepaMH h TaK aajiee. A bot 
Torfla ace, b TpnauaTbie, 3a hckhio- 
yeHneM CBoero pHCOBaHHoro gHeB- 
HHKa, KOTopbiii MHe Bceraa 6hji 
o^ieHb HHTepeceH, oHa eme nbrra- 
jiacb Hji^iiocTpHpoBaTb - sa KaKHe 
Bemn: "Otcjuio" IIIeKcnnpa, Ha- 
npHMep. Ho 3to 6buio Hexopouio, 

3T0 6bIJIO COBepuieHHO He HaHfleHO. 

Tor.ua OHa He Hanuia em,e. Bhahmo, 
en Haflo 6buio nepeacHTb, BO-nep- 

BHX, TJI>KKyK) >KH3Hb C TaMHHHM 
H, BO-BTOpblX, BOHHy, MT06bI B Hefl 
HTO-TO npo6yflHJIOCb. Mo>KCT 6bITb 

OHa aejiajia nooie stoto 6o;iee H3H- 
CKaHHbie Bemw, ho 6o;iee r;iy6o- 

KHX, MeM flOCTOeBCKHH U.HKJ1, OHa, 

KOHerao, yxe He cMorvia c#e.naTb. 
TaKoe, fleHCTBHTejibHO, 0£Ha>KAbi 
6biBaeT. 

H b TeaTpe OHa pa6oTajia. To;ib- 
ko, no-MoeMy, He b sto BpeMJi. OHa 
KaK pa3 b TeaTpe Ha^ajia pa6oTaTb 
nooie 3HaK0MCTBa c TaTJiHHbiM. 
nooie 40-ro roaa. Mojkct 6biTb, 
HeMHoro paHbiue - MHe sto tomho 
He H3BCCTH0. XleKopauHH, koctio- 



AjieKcaHapa KopcaKOBa 
Aleksandra Korsakova, Rodion 
Raskolnikov from Dostoyevsky's 
Crime and Punishment, pencil on 
paper, 60x48 cm., 1970s. 



MM. IIo-MoeMy , 3-ro 61 1 1, 

o6pa30M3aKa3H M epa6oTj' J ';' , ;r' ,M 

MeMBflOCTaTOMHOflpcMVMMi 

o a .BoTT,y6oKas,p a3B ; 7 ; i ;;;." C ''''- 
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TawHH-fleKopa.wM.OHa-ae,;,, 

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BC5IKHHXy a o>KHHKpa3, illIiacTC „ 

MewieHHO, a y jKciim,,,,,,, 0T0 

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T51XKO - H KOMy KaK HC BaM 3.«a T | 
KaK3T0T$IXK0-yBH31.inaTI,T BOp'' 

MecxBo c ceMbeft A axe caMoii mn, 
uieft h caMOH npeKpacmii".. y ..;.„, 

C3M0H 3TH nonHTKM CCM.'llCTI-.uilin- 

cth pa 3 Ba- jimamcb, u rmmwH 
o6pa30M no sxoii npummc. I"Ioto- 
My mto chji y Hamero 6p-i ia nenpc- 
MeHHo He aocTaeT na bu-.v Qm- m . 
rejibHo MTo-Hn6y«i, Hfle T liancpcKo- 

C5IK. 

TaK bot, Kor«a si ayMaio tom, 
oTKyAa y Hee wo nouuio. h ncno-' 
MHHaio CTapoe HeMeuKoe 3Kciipec- 

CHOHHCTCKOe KHHO, ,li l,:pa K(llip;i ■ 

aa OenflTa. 

HeMeuKwe HHTCjuiHreura toto 
BpeMeHH noMema;iHci> na JXoctock- 
ckom h npH3HaBa;iH , ia:-.e cawwc 
cjia6bie MecTa ero "flHeBmiKa nuca- 
Tejia", HanpHMep, p\a kom iiajw- 
#e KaK HapoAe-6oniiiocnc. I> 20-c 
roflbi, Hao6opoT, HeMeuKoe skc- 
npeccHOHHCTCKoe kiiiih, cjni.ihMb! c 
KoHpaflOM OeiiflTOM, b cboio omc- 
peflb, noKopw^o Poccjhk). Bee 3th 
aoMa, 3th nofltesflbi, sth y^in;iii 11 
jaace sth Jiwua, sth MaHcpw 11 3-tii 
npHBbmKH - sto Bee 6mjio Bno^nc 

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roM HCKyccTBe. B khho sto 6mjio 

HOBbIM JKaHpOM, 3T0 6hJJIO HOBOC 

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stom pofle, a b repMamm eu^c mo»- 
ho 6hjio. B 33-m roay .■10 koii'ih- 

JlOCb. 

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paji HBaHa rpo3Horo, naraniimi, 
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Ta KajiH-rapH", kotopwh we /iyw- 
uihh ero opHJibM h He jiymnasi ero 
po^b, 6uno orpoMHoe ko^hmcctbo - 
ropa3ao 6ojiwiie, ^eM c MepH IIhk-. 
cpopa h JlyrnacoM Osp6chkcom. H 

yflHBHTC/lbHO, MTO HaiUH K0MCO- 

mo^kh hbho npeflnoMHTa^" ero, 
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6h\jm KaKJie-TO raynocw HacMCT 
xeHonoHo6Horo PyflO^b^o Ba.neu- 

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:^ liT ejibHi>ix rcpocB, a hmchho ot- 

ol maTejii>Hbix. 
Bot 3T0T caMbiii rnnnoTH3M - ne- 

nOflfle/lbHblM, npupOflHblll. 

% floc/ie 33-roaa - noc/ie xoro, KaK 
h b Fo/iJinByfle cncnan cpn/ibM o 
pacnvTHHe - Oeiijrr noexa/i b Aur- 
niiio HrpaTb eBpea 3iocca. 

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n0 ^po6HO ee onHcajia. 3a6wTb stv 
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noAtiaroHa^H b He6o. He6o <-iep- 
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. jiocom HaTypsjibHO yflyuiaeMoro. 
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Hlf ... 

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pynofljio3yHroM "JJo/ioh 6yp>Kya3- 

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rOM6ojIbUIMHCTBO CplUIbMOB OeHfl- 
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A nocjie bohhh y Hac noa- 

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. CHa6xeHHbie pyccKHMH cy6THTpa- 

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• yc aTOMy sto Bee 6wjio noKa3aHO. 
if 
•-WB0T3TH Benin 6bum nepe-qepKHy- 

■ -?*h 3anpemeHw wis noKa3a. 

- H Moe yB^eMeHHe hm-b cboc 

B PeMa oho MHe mhoto na;io h hjisi 

' PHCOBaHHH, H MJISt IlHCaHHH. 



n - 



MoeMy, to, mto ee nepBbift 



"Korsakova had to survive a 
hard life with Tallin as well 
as survive the war before 
something creative inside 
her woke up. Perhaps she 
did some exquisite things 
later in life, but she never 
went any deeper than her 
Dostoyevsky series." 



••y^IUHXMaH HayuHJi Ajickc3ha- 

jPy CMOTpeTb 3TH CpHJIbMbl, - 51 fl\<- 

-.'ato, mto LUnxMan b nepin'io rtvio- 
- H ayMH^( - sto ee ynepyzano ot 
,OKOHiia T ej, bH0 jj flCrvMaH113aLU111 _ 



drawings, and I always have them before my 
eyes — after the nightmarish experiences she 
caused me following her death, they're the only 
thing preventing me from being utterly 
disappointed in her. 

What was she for me? At first I worshipped 
her. Then there emerged a critical attitude, at 
times bordering on hatred. In the end I was just 
interested. My love for her was gone long ago. 
After that I had feelings of duty, of pity, and 
always of expectation and hope that perhaps 
she could soar again — for she was so gifted, 
she could still do something. 

You came too late to see her as the person I 
loved, the person of the period when she lived 
in a cramped hovel in the old Moscow street 
Bolshaya Molchanovka. She was poor then, 
and I would have continued to help her eagerly 
if she had remained so. But the Devil had a 
part in all this, although I admit there is 
something in me that was also present in 
Korsakova: a sort of extreme, childish 
maximalism. Basically we were very different; 
we were similar only in our hunger for what is 
meant by that profaned word spirituality. Art 
and Faith are not the same thing, but they have 
a lot in common. 

It is very difficult to make a statement about 
Aleksandra Korsakova, because she managed 
to shroud herself in mystery. There was an 
unfortunate, disgraceful scandal surrounding 
her death and confusion surrounding the 
beginning of her artistic career. Nothing has 
survived of what she did in the 1920s. As for 
her works of the 1930s, I have seen some, and 
they're skillful but lacking in the individuality 
she developed in later years. She did a lot of 
book graphics — poems by Anthal Gidas, all 
sorts of revolutionary stuff. Once I came across 
newspaper clippings with her drawings of 
memorial places of the Revolution. They were 
extremely precise. I wouldn't call them 
photographic — they were much better than 
that, just very accurate, true-to-life sketches of 
interiors and so on. Apart from her graphic 
journal, which has always been of great interest 
to me, she also tried at that time to do 
illustrations to great works of literature, for 
instance, Shakespeare's Othello. They were no 
good, but apparently she felt she needed to do 
them. Korsakova had to survive a hard life with 
Tatlin as well as survive the war before 
something creative inside her woke up. 
Perhaps she did some exquisite things later in 
life, but she never went any deeper than her 
Dostoyevsky series. Things like this happen 
only once in a lifetime. Every artist evolves very 
slowly, and for a woman it is even more 
complicated — incredibly hard. Certainly you 
must know how hard it is to link one's creative 



Heresies/idiomA 85 



work with family life. My own attempts to start a 
family were shattered chiefly for that very 
reason. You can never have the strength for 
everything. Something always goes wrong. 

When I think of Korsakova I remember the 
old German expressionist films and the famous 
actor Conrad von Veidt. German intellectuals 
developed a craze for Dostoyevsky, and during 
the 1920s German expressionist films, 
especially those starring von Veidt, became a 
craze in Russia. All those houses, entrances, 
streets — even faces, manners, and habits — 
were purest Dostoyevsky, but it was a new art. 
In the Russia of the '20s it was unthinkable to 
do anything of this kind, but in Germany it was 
still possible. There it all ended in 1933. 

Many films starring Veidt were shown in the 
U.S.S.R., far more than those with Mary 
Pickford or Douglas Fairbanks. Veidt played 
Ivan the Terrible, Paganini — he starred in the 
famous Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, which was 
neither his best role nor his best film. Women 
here liked the antihero that he played. It was a 
case of natural hypnotism. Having starred in a 
1933 Hollywood film about Rasputin, Veidt then 
left for Britain to play Zuss the Jew. It was in 
this very film that Korsakova later recognized 
Tatlin's tower in the construction of the gallows 
on which Zuss was executed. It is impossible 
to forget the gallows and how they cut 
diagonally into the black night sky. It is 
snowing, or maybe it is the stars that are falling 
down. You can see this dreadful diagonal and 
beneath it the ascending cage with Zuss in it. 
And how Veidt cried, "Adonai": the voice of a 
man being suffocated. 

In 1928 a second wave of emigration began 
in the U.S.S.R., and a new tide of cultural 
persecution rose up. The motto was "down with 
bourgeois trash," and under this slogan all 
films starring Veidt, "the decadent moron, the 
aristocratic degenerate," were shelved away to 
rot somewhere in the Gosfilmofond archive. 
After the war Veidt's talking pictures appeared, 
furnished with Russian subtitles, a gift from 
Britain. Reportedly, Stalin himself saw those 
films, which he then banned. 

I'm not a Veidt fanatic myself; it's just that I 
like true artistry wherever it may be found. It 
was Korsakova's first husband, Schikhman, 
who seems to have imparted humaneness to 
her and who taught her to appreciate Veidt's 
films. In a manner of speaking, this 
appreciation is what prevented her from the 
ultimate dehumanization that came to 
characterize all our dear avant-garde. Let's look 
the truth in the face: leftists who understood 
film-making, like Mayakovsky, used to call Veidt 
pseudo-psychic. They called pseudo-psychic 
everything that had anything to do with 



"In 1 928 a second wave 

of emigration began in 

the U.S.S.R., and 

a new tide of cultural 
persecution rose up." 



AjieKcaH/ipa KopcaKOBa 

Aleksandra Korsakova, Portrait of 

Dostoyevsky, pencil on paper, 

50x30 cm., 1990s. 



Ot toh fleryMaHH3au,Hn, Koropan 
TaK npucyma 6wjia Bceiviy H auie MV 
floporoiviy aBaHrapsy. Ha ao cmot- 
peTB npaBae b rjia3a. Be«b cDe HflTa 
ohh o63HBajiH - Kpoine KyjiemoBa 
Te, kto b khho pa36npa.nc5i, Bpoae 
MasiKOBCKoro - "ncHxcroxecT- 

BOM". IlCHXOJIOXeCTBOM flJUi HIIX 

6hm He tojibko MXAT - Boo6me 
Bee, b neM 6una ncHxojionisi. H fl 
He noHHMaio, KaKHM o6pa30M Masi- 
kobckhh Mor XBajiHTt, Co.nory6a 
HanpHMep, noTOMy wo Cojiory6- 

3T0 TO^ce nCHXOJIOJKeCTBO fl/isi Ta- 
KMX, KaK MaaKOBCKHH.A UTO eiue 
npOTHBOCTOSUIO CpOpMajIHCTHKC H 

MauiHHepHH aBaHrapjia? Bor - Ma- 
uiHHa, mm oMauiHHeHM, npiipoaa 
OMauiHHeHa, k MepTy npnpoay, k 
MepTy KyjibTypy.H K yep T y mcjiobc- 
Ka - KBaflpaTHKH, TpeyrojibHHiiKii, 

A3 3flpaBCTByK»T MaiUHHH - BHHTH- 

KH-uinyHTHKH. rionoBa-To - no- 
MHHTe? CnepBa - >khboc, a iiotom - 

BHHTHKH H UinyHTMKH Ha Met'lCp- 

xo^bAOBCKOH cuene. Kojicchkh, ko- 
hchho, o^apoBaTejibHbie, oco6chho 
ceiwac CMOTpHiub - ohh t3kmc jkh- 
Bbie. Ho 3to »:e 6hjih nepBwe uia- 
rn, a noTOM nosiBH^acb MepTBCMH- 
Ha caMH 3HaeTe Kanaa. IIotom hcjio 
KOHHHJiocb noMecfaio Mopra c no- 
mohkoh. Ho nepBbie aBaHrapaHcra 

He 6bUIH nOMOHHHMH, KOHC-IHO. 

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KaKHe, ho Beflb npwpofly ohh pa3o- 
flpajiH coBceM - pa3ne^ajincb c npii- 
poaoH, to ecTb c npefluiecTByiomcH 
Ky^bTypoH. 3to noTOM OHa jiio6ii- 
jia paccKa3HBaTb, KaK TaivniH n3y- 

Majl HKOHOnHCHyKD TeXHHKV - 3T0 

Bee no3>Ke npnuuio, Koraa cmv ca- 
MOMy flocra;iocb. 

A OHa - AjieKcaHflpa - BepTe;iaci> 
Mexmy "neBMMH" h "npaBHMit". H 
OHa MHe paccKa3biBajia - xotji, bo3- 
mojkho, crywa^a KpacKH h Mena 
noflnpa3HHBaira, - mto yyeHKKH 
OeflopoBa - OHa Ha3HBajia napy 

(paMHJMH, HO nOCKOJIbKV 3TH (pa- 
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BexpHjiHCb H3 Moeii naMsmi -^paoo- 
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tckc, y>KacHO, yxcacHO xotc,ih ee 
"pa3BHBaTb"-OHaKa3ajiacbM--i ia- 

KOH OflVXOTBOpeHHOH. 

Ho OHa Ha cbohx flo^roBH3WX ^ 
Horax ot hhx npocTO 6era;ia. KaK 
hccko^bko no3flHee 6era.na ox yxa- 
>KHBaHHH TOBapHma TaT^nna. llo- 
TOMy hto b ABajwaTbie-TpimuaTbie 
roflbi ohh manoMHO 6bi/m 3HaKOMH, 



86 Heresies/idiomA 



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Heresies/idiomA 87 



psychology. But what else was there that 
opposed the mechanistic formalism of the 
avant-garde, which told us that God is a 
machine, that we have become machines, that 
nature is a machine, too, so the hell with 
nature, damn all culture, let humanity be 
confounded — and long live machines, the 
screws and the bolts! 

You remember Popova. At the beginning she 
is ever so alive, and at the end, on Meyerhold's 
stage, she is all screws and wheels, although 
her wheels were so fascinating, and they still 
are, they seem alive. But these were the first 
steps, and later on there was such deadness, 
such decay. Now we can see how the whole 
thing ended up like a cross between a morgue 
and a rubbish dump. Of course the early avant- 
gardists weren't rubbish at all — they were 
excellent designers. But they tore nature into 
pieces and entirely dismembered the old 
culture. Korsakova liked to tell stories in her 
later years about how Tatlin studied the 
techniques of icon painting, which is true, but 
he did so after undergoing his period of 
persecution. Korsakova herself dangled 
between the right and the left. 

Once Korsakova told me, in an exaggerated 
way, obviously wanting to tease me, that the 
pupils of the occult philosopher Nikolai 
Fyodorov were willing to "develop" her because 
she seemed so awfully spiritual to them but 
that she just ran away from them on her lanky 
legs, the same way she used to escape Tatlin's 
courting. Tatlin and she had had a nodding 
acquaintance back in the '20s and '30s, but 
she didn't care for him and his clumsiness. So, 
the pupils of Fyodorov did their best to develop 
her soul. 

Our generation — and yours, too — grew up 
with an enormous yearning for somebody to 
teach us, but we ended up having to dig things 
up on our own. It was only later that I realized 
why in my teens I was so eagerly fishing out of 
the Moscow slums the remnants of the 
prerevolutionary intelligentsia. These old men 
and women attracted me more than children 
my own age! It seemed quite eccentric to me 
that I at the age of fourteen should share an 
understanding with someone so ancient — not 
with Korsakova, who was not so old at that 
time and whom I came to know much later. No, 
the people I'm talking about had already died 
by the time I met her, and they were what 
remained of the old culture —the culture of 
humanism, not of the machine. Korsakova 
never sought such acquaintances. It was the 
reverse: they were seeking her. And I can 
imagine a highbrow intellectual taking aim at 
her with his butterfly net; I envision him as a 
likeness of Fyodorov and her as a butterfly or a 

88 Heresies/idiomA 



"You remember Popova. At 
the beginning she is ever 

so alive, and at the end, on 
Meyerhold's stage, she is 

all screws and wheels, 

although her wheels were 

so fascinating, and they 

still are, they seem alive. " 



ho en 6hjio njieBaTi,: xoaur K a K oft 
to aojiroBsrsbiH, y KOToporo p VK H 
HoraMH b yseii nepeBsawBaio^cj,--:- 
TaK bot, cpexiopoBuw ee Bc " 

CKH flyXOBHO paSBHBajlH. Kohchho 

o H a paccKasbiBa^a 3T0 , hcmhoto ' 
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Hac noynwi. A mm 6hjih nomm c 

6ecn P H30 P HHKH. Mbl flCWIXHbl 6hUi„ 

caMH rae-To KonaTbca, H a, nanpi,- 
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b moh 16 -15-14 jiex BbuiawiHBaTb 
b mockobckhx Tpymo6ax o6jiomkh 

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3TO flejiaiO HCKJUOMHTejIbHO II., ;.y 

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bo BcaKOM cjiyyae, TaK He Mory. 
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STHxepeflopoBueB 6era./i3. 3axeM, 

OHa - MOJKCT 6bITb, 3T0 T0>Ke 6bIJI0 

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mo ^ocToeBCKoro ona BnepBbie 
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to xe BpeMsi Aaxe mhcto cpn3tme- 

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mocth euie ii 6e3>KajiocTHofi a6co- 

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"MJHlCaMII B 3T0M BHHOBaTbl. M 33- 

Km. y nee HHKorAa hc 6i>uio co6ct- 



"Starting at age fourteen 

she was hanging around 

the theater, leading 

a grown-up life with a 

retinue of admirers, even 

though she was a mere 

child, even physically. 

I suspect that she was 

absolutely cool and rather 

cruel toward men." 



dragonfly, dancing away from him into her 
biomechanics. 

Yes, she did biomechanics in her youth. She 
was even a dancer in Goleyzovsky's company, 
but she was always placed in the back because 
she was too tall. It's very hard to judge now 
what she was like at that time. She had a odd 
habit, one that most women lack absolutely: 
she did not like to speak of herself or her life. 
So I go by what she told me herself and also 
the photographs taken by her father when she 
was sixteen or seventeen, which her niece 
showed me after Korsakova's funeral. I was 
expecting to see a girl who looked like the '30s 
film stars Yulia Solntseva orTamara Makarova, 
since Korsakova had told me that people used 
to say she resembled them. In the photographs 
she looks a bit plain and vulgar — and 
somewhat mincing, in keeping with the fashion 
of the early years of the century, because by 
the 1920s it was no longer fashionable to be 
mincing or affected. I imagine Aleksandra 
Korsakova was very unserious and worldly as a 
girl. She told me once that it was only after the 
age of forty that she first read Dostoyevsky, 
and she often said that deep in her heart she 
remained a little girl, which is very akin to my 
own feelings. When I was twenty, people 
mistook me for a thirteen-year-old. I did my best 
to prolong my childhood, and I've never 
regretted it. 

Well, there was something childish in 
Korsakova, too, and the reason is that it was 
so early that she lost her innocence — literally, 
not in any higher sense. It must have happened 
when she was something like fourteen or 
sixteen. Starting at age fourteen she was 
hanging around the theater, leading a grown-up 
life with a retinue of admirers, even though she 
was a mere child, even physically. I suspect 
that she was absolutely cool and rather cruel 
toward men. Later in her life she grew softer; in 
her youth, however, it seems she was pitiless, 
but they had only themselves to blame for that. 
Also, she never had children, and these two 
circumstances combined seem to have created 
excruciating nostalgia — not so much for 
having a child of her own but rather for having 
lost her own childhood too much before the 
natural time. The little girl of her drawings was 
not grief about a motherhood that was not to 
be but rather about her own childhood, which, 
by the way, was not at all unhappy. She was a 
spoiled baby. She loved to boast that her 
ancestors were Old Believers, but she gave up 
her patriarchal family just the way other silly 
little talented fools of her generation did. 

Korsakova must have realized what she 
really was when she sprained her foot and had 
to give up dancing. Her legs had worked too 



Heresies/idiomA 89 



hard, while her brain had been idle. The 
enforced end of her career as a dancer helped 
her become an artist. People — especially 
women — gain wisdom due to circumstances, 
you know. Korsakova also worked as a theater 
designer, which she began to do after she met 
Tatlin — after 1940, maybe earlier. They did 
stage design and costumes. I believe this was 
a job done mainly under orders, during the 
darkest period of our history. Take, for 
example, Aleksandr Kron's Deep 
Reconnaissance, a very conformist Socialist 
Realist play. Tatlin was responsible for the 
stage design and Korsakova for the costumes. 

Men did influence Korsakova artistically, but 
by and large they were in the way, and their 
ailments, especially, brought burdens. Even 
though she was always a gifted artist, she 
attained true artistic quality only after Tatlin 
died. It is impossible to guess the extent to 
which she depended upon him and whether or 
not he was her idol, as everyone says he was. 
I'm afraid that if he was, he became so only 
after his death. Her memories of him were 
highly contradictory; some of them shocked me 
as being rude and cynical. Her flashes of 
cynicism did not become her, and though they 
were rare, they were bitter and spiteful. 
Sometimes she vented apologetic 
recollections, but mainly in the presence of a 
third party; sometimes she talked about good 
memories that were just very human and very 
nice. 

Once she called me to help her deal with her 
canvases in the storeroom, and before I arrived 
she took some kind of medicine or liquor and, 
just to tease me, started pretending that she 
was more drunk than she actually was. It was 
curious, but it was also frightening. I was 
shocked. She was stumbling along behind the 
wall, stopping now and then at the door of the 
storeroom and muttering deliriously, in a very 
Dostoyevskian way, "Ah, where are they all? I 
wish some of them were here! Vladimir 
Yevgrafovich, at least ..." The worst thing about 
it was her manner: simple, sweet, and 
horrifying all at the same time, like falling in 
love with somebody no longer living. 

As for Veidt, it's such a pity that he never 
played anything of Dostoyevsky's. His 
popularity was enormous, but now he is 
forgotten, and this shows how degraded the 
masses have become since the beginning of 
the century. Everywhere there reigns what 
Dostoyevsky referred to as "the street" and 
"the mediocre." The lower you fall, the closer 
you are to your idol. It's like Hitler and Charlie 
Chaplin — now nobody can tell which of them 
played whom. H 



BeHHbix fleTCM. CoyeT3Hne Toro h 
Apyroro co3AaeT KOJiocca/ibHyio ho- 
cra;ibrnFo He CTo^bKO no hmchhio 
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b nepByio rcuiOBy TOCKa no CBoeMy 
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JIHTbCa TeM, MTO CO CTOpOHbl MaTe- 

pn ee npenKH - CTapoo6paAu,bi, ho 
Ha caMOM A&jie OHa, Kaic h Bee repH- 
ajibHbie AypoMKH ee noKOJieHHa, 6e- 
>Kajia ot CBoefi naTpwapxa^bHOH 

CeMbH. 

51 AyMaro, hto y Hee oco3H3Hne 
ce6st coBnajio c TeM BpeMeHeM, kot- 
fla OHa pacTsmyjia CB33Ky h nepe- 
CTa^a 6wTb TaHupBiinmeii. Ee Horn 
noABepra;racb KonoccsjibHHM Ha- 
rpy 3KaM, a b rxviOBe ry nun BeTep. 
To, mto OHa nepecTa^a TaHii,eBaTb, 
noMorao eft CTaTb xyAO>KHMneH. 
IToTOMy mto jKeHUiHHbi - oco6eHHo 

>KeHUIHHbI - CTaHOBOTCSI MyflpblMH 
B 3aBHCHM0CTH OT o6cT05ITejIbCTB. 

... MyxcKoe B^HsiHHe, bh ck333- 

JIVL - fla, MyjKCKOe BJfflaHHe, HO H 

My>KCKoe tueiuaHHe. 3to y>KacH0 
Ba>KHo: OHa Beflb cwjibHOH xyaoxc- 
HHuew CTajia - xoTb TajiaHTjiHBoii 
6una Bceraa - mrcbico Koraa He cts- 
jio TaTJiHHa. 

TpyaHO peniHTb, b k3koh crene- 
hh OHa ot Hero 3aBHce;ia, 6un nu 
oh ee KyMHpoM. Boiocb, mto ecjra h 
6mji, to CKopee nocMepTHO. Bocno- 
MHHaHHsi ee 6unn Kpaime pa3HOo6- 
pa3HH h KpaftHe npoTHBono^ox- 
hh. BbiBa^H Te, KOTopbie MeHH no- 
pa>Ka/iH Hexopouieii rpy6ocTbio. 
Boo6me en CTpauiHo He wnn pe- 
aKHe, cri3Ba Bory, BcnbiuiKH uh- 

HH3M3, HO 3aT0 3T0T IIHHH3M 6bUI 
O^eHbHenpHHTHblH. BOT TaKHM BOC- 

noMHHaHHsjM OHa npeaaBa^acb pe- 

flKO. 

Bi.ura BOcnoMHHaHHH anonore- 
TuyecKHe. Ho 3to, r^aBHbiM o6pa- 
3om, Korfla TpeTbe jraup npHcyTCT- 
bob3jio hjih veTBepToe. H 6bmh 
npocTo Hennoxwe nejioBeMeciaie. 



Ho MeHanopaaiua „.„ I;i lM 

Koraa o H a Mens, npH3(iaj];i lt .^' 

ne P ecTaB^5iTbB3anac„„Kc C r 

BHTbMTO-TOTaMHaMCCTo'a rt. 

0HaTOflHBaj 'ePM«K..Hani^ U 

xo^ero-TOTaMcme,, 'J' 

BHfl, WO oHa6o^e„arn Wci t.' 
A^HeexMe^bHorccMHacaC, 

Hn yraK)u t e3To6 U ™6y A „ 3a op o ; 

^•nOMTHTaK^KaKTCKol-, 

PH,KOTopHeoHano r ,p,a aM ; ; 
CMepTHo. noTOMy , , lllillIISll 
B ce-T3KH OHa yMc.a ,-.„„,..,;,;,; 
BH3H B ajia HHKoma. Aaxc B nC m,- 
ofl Moero caMoro kphthicckoto K 

HeHOTHOUieHHJI.O,,;,^.,,,,,.,,.,^ 
CTeHKOH, BpeMSI OT BpCMCHH 0CT3- 

HaMHBanacb Ha noporc aanacmiua 
h jieneTana AeficrniiTcyH,- no no.iv- 
opeaoBo K3K-T0, npe,Mii.no, b 06- " 

lUeM-TO, HO B UejIOM 3T0 6w;ia, KO- 

hcmko, floCToeBmnna miCToii iionw: 
"Bot, rae OKTt Bee? HosiBiwcH 6w 

KTO H3 HHX. Ha X.. inn i.oikl!. XO!;l 

6bi BjiaflMMHp EnrpadpoBsin. Bot, 

TOMHO BH>Ky ..." 

RpuqeM, caMoe 6peaoBoe 6i.wo 
to, mto 3to ona BbiroBapiiBajia b t;i- 
koh npocTeubKOH it m i>^oii h bmc- 

CTe C TeM CTpaiHHOBaTOli cJjopMe. 

Hto-to noAo6Hoe h y Mensi, cko^i.- 
ko 5i ce6a noMHio, HHora_a jinxop:i- 
Aomho Me^bKajio. noTOMy mto si no- 

pMOAHMeCKH - B 6bUlbie BpCMCIia 

oco6eHHO, ceiwac y«e hct - n3a- 
MeH jKHBbtx jiiOAew yxHTpsi^aci. 
B^ro6^aTbca b noKofiiiHKOB. 

A mto KacaeTca Oei'uTa... ripo- 
cto o6iuho to,hto b 3KpaHH3amin 
JloCToeBCKoro oh HHKoraa ne vm;i- 

CTBOBa.l. 

Beab sto 6bua MaccoBaa nony.isip- 

HOCTb. Ho 3T0MV TO>Ke MOXHO CV- 

3htb, jo KaKoft CTeneHH jajKL' Niac- 
Cbi na.m Ha npoT«>Keiuin XX boko. 
Be3Ae uapHT to, hto HocTOCBCKiiii 

C HeH3BHCTbKD H33bIBa.T "V-lHUCli" II 

"cepeaiiHoft". Hcm hkjkc tm yna- 
aeuib, TeM 6-inxe th 6yaeujb k kv- 
Miipy. KaK Hnviep, k3k Hap.in 
•Han-iHH. noTOMy mto HCii3necTH0 
eme, kto H3 mix koto cwrpa.i. ■ 



90 Heresies/idiomA 



'0 

i 



a- 



c- 



t-," J 



■H 



ation with 

Korsakova 

(1904-1990) 



AneKcaHApa HnKOjiaeBHa ne cpa3y 
noKHHy^a 3eMjito, na KOTopoft npo- 
aciuia new™ 90 jict. 3a necKOJibKO 
flneii ao Toro, KaK ee Tejio 6buio 06- 
HapyxeHo b ee KBaprape, mto 3a- 
(piiKCHpoBaji Ha luieHKy KoppecnoH- 
5|eHT rcumaHflCKoro TejieBUflemifl, 
npnexaBUUHH B3siTb y Hee Hmrep- 
Jbmo, - 3a HecKOJibKO AHeft so axoro 
Jkto-to aKo6w BHflen ee b MpooiaB- 
Sie, a eme kto-to yBepsui, mto cma 
HaxoflHTca b ,H,iocce.nbAopcpe. Mar- 
HHTOtpoHHafl 3anncb nauieH 6eceflw 
Hme3Jia, KaK mh y3HajiH no3flHee, 
iyTb mi ne b «enb ee CMep™ na 

APyrOM KpaiO 3CMJ1H B B0P0B3T0M 

paftoHe Hbio-KopKa. 3H3MeHaTejib- 
HHe, ecjiii ne 3^0Beuune coBnaae- 
hhs eme flojiro TpeBO*;n.n h noKoft 
-HeMHorax 6^h3khx noaie ee CMep- 

TII. 

KaK npiiHsiTo, pa/join c neft jic- 
*ajia 3an«CKa. )Ke.ne3HbiM ncmep- 
kom b Heft npeflnncbiBanocb hhkoto 
B ee CMepTH He bhhhtb. TojibKo tc- 
TOtpOHnaa Tpy6Ka ncmeMy-TO 6wjia 
c KHTa c pbma>KKa, - mojkct 6wTb, 
ito6h He noMemajiH. 

UHa Hammajia KaK xyflojiu-niua 
toaflmero noKOJiemisi aBanrapfla. 
"MeHHo aBanrapfl HapeK eft npo- 
teccHOHa/ibHoe hmh - "KopcatcoBa, 
*EHa Ta-nnina". HeMHonie nocRsi- 
^eHHbie eft CTaTi,n - "3eMHoe 6paT- 



Editor's note: The original conversation 
among Korsakova, Irina Sandomirskaya, 
and Olga Petrochuk took place in 
Moscow in the spring of 1990, shortly 
before Korsakova's death. The question- 
and-answer portion of the following 
piece is, properly speaking, a 
recollection rather than a transcription 
of the conversation, since the tape was 
stolen out of a parked car in Manhattan 
before its contents were safeguarded — 
a precaution the Russian visitors never 
imagined would be necessary. Please 
also see Petrochuk's "The Revolt of the 
Daughters" elsewhere in this issue. 



Introduction 

Irina Sandomirskaya 

Upon her death Aleksandra Nikolayevna 
did not immediately leave the earth where she 
had lived for nearly ninety years. Several days 
before her body was finally found in her 
apartment, someone allegedly saw her in the 
town of Yaroslavl, while somebody else 
assured us she had gone to Dusseldorf. On the 
day of her death, the tape containing our 
interview with her vanished mysteriously, as we 
later discovered, from a car parked at the other 
end of the world, in a thievish district of New 
York City. Ominous coincidences continued to 
trouble her few relatives and friends long after 
she was dead. 

As usually occurs, a note was found 
beside her. Written in a steady hand, it said 
that nobody should be blamed for her death. 
The telephone receiver had been taken off the 
hook, perhaps against intruders. 

Heresies/idiomA 91 



Wk" 



Korsakova began as an artist of the 
younger avant-garde generation, and it was the 
avant-garde that professionally baptized her 
"Korsakova, the wife of Tatlin." Several articles, 
published after a prolonged period of 
nonrecognition, have now managed to secure a 
place for her away from the shadow of her 
ingenious husband. "The world was trying to 
catch me, but it didn't," said a sage in his 
autoepitaph. Korsakova's suicide was an act of 
final self-identification with the old Russian 
avant-garde. The revolt of the daughter who 
produced her most original works only after her 
physical tie with the legendary era was broken, 
as of Tallin's (and Stalin's) death in 1953, 
ended in a dignified acknowledgement of her 
defeat by the mainstream. She was constantly 
yearning to change something, whether it was 
the place she lived in or the studio she worked 
in. In the long run Korsakova chose another, 
nonphysical dimension in which to exist. 



The Conversation 

Q. Women's art is usually understood to arise from 
the purely corporeal difference of sex. But we are 
interested in differences in the spiritual nature of 
women's artistic self-realization and whether these 
differences become manifest in art. 

A. Yes, they do, and now they are more 
significant than in any other period. The most 
important thing for the woman artist nowadays 
is first and foremost her child, her motherhood 
— bearing a child, cherishing a child. A woman 
dreams of herself in her child; she makes her 
art as she bears an infant. I know a young 
painter who decided to have a child and is 
raising him all by herself. She's having a hard 
time, because her son is not physically strong, 
and she has to work a lot to provide for her 
child and herself. But she looks happy. Yes, 
there can be different circumstances in life, but 
it would take us too far afield if we explore that 
in detail. What I am speaking about now is the 
most general trend: that the formative factor for 
the contemporary Russian woman artist is 
her child. 

In fact, an artist always remains a child 
deep inside. I still feel the childhood in myself 
as if I were a little girl in the arms of my 
parents or out in the countryside in spring. I 
made a series of drawings in which the main 
character is a little girl living in a city during 
wartime, sitting in an air raid shelter and 
dreaming of herself as Joan of Arc. This girl is 
also me, and in my heart I am still like her. 

Back in the twenties everything was so 



CTBO 



■ "flajrbHHH CliCT 311C3AM T-,, ' 

^Ha" : 3aKpe„ Hj -, 13;iIIC ,; c ^;: 
cnHHOH remiaahHoro M yx a . H T- 



"Mllp JIOBMJI MCH5I 



ho nc noftMa,," 



"In the long run 
Korsakova chose another, 
nonphysical dimension in 

which to exist." 



KaKCKasajiBaB-nwrnrraci,,,, 
Peu.yxoflKopca K onoii- aKlUl , 
OKOHnaTMbHoro ,i ; t o6p OBMhi ; oro 
caMooroxAecTBjieHi.il co crap UM 
pyccKHMasaHrapAOM, nonowa..- 
mero ee hmsi c HMeiie M cnocro re- • 
hhk. By HT wwepH, coaflamiica ca- 
Mwe opurHHajibHMe cboii pa6o TW 
JiHiiii, nocjie xoro, xax npcpuajiacb 
b toa CMep T TaTJimia (11 CTajiii- 
Ha) ee cpH3miecKasi cbh3i. c jiercn- 
flapHoft snoxoii, 3aKommjicn My*e- 
CTBeHHHM npn3HaHneM nopaxc- 
hhsi nepeA jihu,om Bejinicoro Ha- 
npaBJiem-M. y H ee B ce i, : .-.ui f„,,. 10 
CTpeMJiemie mto-to noMciism,: to 
KBaprapy,To MacrepcKyio - «oo6iuc 
MecTo. H b KOHiie kohliob 011a no- ' 
MCHsuia ero, H36pas hhoc ii3Mcpc- 
HMe AJia cBoero cymecTBOBannsi. 

B.: 

KorAa pem. ha6t o jkchckom iki- 
yajie b HCKyccTBe, ero o6i>tmho no- 

HHMaiOT KaK KHCTO (pH31IMCCK0C 

pa3JiH»jHe nojia. Hac xe niiTcpecy- 
eT pa3JiitMne AyxoBHora njiaiia. 

Ilp05IBJ15ieTCH J1H 3T0 pa3JlHMMC B 

HCKyccTBe? 

A.K.: 

Ra. CeftMac 3to oqCHi, Ba:::!in n 
aKTyajiLHO. CaMoe rjiaunoc a.isi xy- 
AOJKHHiiM cefmac - oto npexac bcc- 

TO MaTepMHCTBO, flHTe... C03flaTb, 

BbmocHTb ahtS... JKemiiHua mcmt3- 
eT ce6si b pe6eHKe, tbopht cboc hc- 

KyCCTBO TaK, KaK OHa BblHaiilllBaCT 

AhtS. 9l 3HaK0Ma c oahoh jKenmn- 
Hoii - mojioaom xyAo>KHHu.eH. ( )ii;i 
peiiiHjia oAHa, 6e3 Myxa poA»Tb pe- 
6eHKa. Eii npuxoAHTca oueHb T5ixe- 
jio, ho OHa MHoro h xopoiuo pa6oTa- 
eT, HTo6bi npoKopMHTb ce6a n CBoe 
AHTe. Eh TpyAHO, pe6eH0K nc 

OWHb 3A0P0B, HO OHa BbirjISIAHT 

c^acTJiHBOH. BbiBaroT pa3Hwc 06- 

CT05ITejIbCTBa B >KH3HH, HO 3T0 33- 

boaht Hac cjiiilhkom AaJieKO. 2 ro- 

BOpiO TOM, l ITO eCTb, MTO HHn6o- 

jiee o6mo, ctoji6obo: ceiiwac caMoe 
BaacHoe ajisi xyfl05KHHU,w - 3to ee 
pe6eH0K. 

Boo6me xvAOJKHHK h caM Bcerfla 
omymaeT ce6st pe6eHK0M. 51 Pfl chx 
nop MyBCTByio b ce6e actctbo h Ma- 
cto Biixy ce6$i AesoMKOH Ha pyxax 
y Koro-HM6yAb «3 poAHTejrefi. Hjih 
b AepeBHe, bcchoh. Y mchh ecTb ce- 
pnsi piicyHKOB npo AeBO^Ky bochho- 
ro BpeMeHH - KaK OHa chaht b 6om- 
6oy6e>Knme h npeacTaBJisicT ce6si 
XaHHoft a' ApK. 3Ta AeBOMKa - to- 



92 Heresies/idiomA 



%t H) raKasi si Buyme. 

B 20-e roaiii nee 6i>ijio no-,npyro- 
.,« Toraa 3to bcc ne omvma/ioch 
1K ocTpo, k;ik cen<iac. Jto obijio 
c0B epujeHi(oapyroe Bpe,\fn. Mi.i nee 
6hi.ni 1 xyao>KHUKn, bcc onmiaKOno 
nwoiajin B03AVXOM cno6oai>i. Bee - 

MV jKi|HHI>l 11 >KCHllI,llHbI - 6hl.nl! Oflll- 
H3KOBO 3apSl>KCHhI BpOMCHCM. 3t0 

■ ■'6w.no noTpsica rom.ee bpcmsi - bcc 

nnepll 6bIJlll OTKpblThI, HCBCpOSlT- 

uaiicTenciib nonKopKOBofi cbo6o- 
nw. Toraa xyaoauiiiKOB hv>kho 6i>i- 
jiofle-fiHTij ne na myjkmiih ii xch- 
,:"iuiih, a Ha xj'aojkhukob h aii3ai'mc- 
pOB. TaT/iim, HnrtpuMcp, 6i>i/i xy- 

t'flOJKHHK. BnOCjICACTBlIU XyHOJKHH- 

■ KOB CTaHOBllJlOCh BCC MCHbUJC, a flH- 

■ aaiiHcpoB bcc 6o/ibiue. Ho rono- 

nllTbO TOM, 4 TO TO rfla 6bIJlIf My>K- 
litlHW-XyflOlCHUKH II >KCH1HI1HI)1-Xy- 

ao)KHnm>i - hct, raKoro ne 6bi.no. 
^HoToraa MHoroe 6i>uio ne tak, kok 
;:ceri l iac. Eh/ui apynie ycnoBiisi. 

Toraa He 6h/i b TaKOii creneiiH pa3- 
.pyuieH 06 nun ft n.iaH >kh3hh. Toraa 

jkencKoe He oco3naBa/ioci> c TaKoi'i 

ciwoii, K3K cefmac. Hiikoto ne boji- 
; 'Hcmajio, ecTh y xyaoxunnbi neni, 

■lUIHHCT, B35I/ia Jill 0H3 flCTCli C CO- 

6oiiHJin yexajia 11 nx ocraBJi/ia. 
fljisi Hac hc 6w.no h Bonpoca o bjiiisi- 

HHS1X. Mb! BCC 6bI/IH CilMOCTOSITCVIb- 

hmmh xyao>KHHKaMn. ronnapoBa, 
nanpHMep, 6bma omchi, cii/ibHasi 
xyflo>KHHu,a, cn/ibHee JTapnonoBa, 
i xora MHonie TaK He ayMaioT. 51 6i>i- 
^aa/ia y hhx b acme... ITomhio, oh ro- 
' BopiM eft, hto ona Ma.io pa6crra- 
er... Ho oh miKoraa hc Mor iia nee 
wmaTb. 51, nanpiiMcp, Boo6me hii 
y koto He ymuracb - .numb hchoji- 
roe BpeMsi nocemajia 3anHTHsi y 
MauiKOBa, KomiajiOBCKoro n YjibJi- 
HOBa. Mm c TaTJiHHWM pa6oTajin 
BMecTe, ho Ka>Kflbiii jjejiaji uto-to 
CBoe, h ne yMH/iacb y nero. Tax mto 
HHKaKoro yneHHMecTBa b to BpeMsi 
He6w.ro. 

B.: 

. TeM He MeHee, Koraa pewb naeT 
OHonoBOH, Bceraa ynoMiiHaeTCsi, 
iTOoHaGbwa yqemmeii Majieiui- 
l '<i- KaK bw ayMaeTC, Morjia mi 6w 

°Ha C03fl3Tb CaMOCTOSITCJlbHOe Ha- 

"paBjieHne? 
A.K.: 

KoHeMHo, kohc-iho. Ona 6biJia 
° l ieHb xopomaa xy«o>KHiiLi,a. 

• B.: 

-™ieKcaHapa HnKO/iaeBna, bo3- • 
'. " t,Ka eTTaKoe BneMaTjiemie, mto b 
.'• Te fipeMena BjiacTb npeanpuHHMa- 
a nonuTKH ynpaB/isiTb tbopicckh- 



"At that time artists were never 

labeled as men or women. 

Rather, you saw that some of 

them were artists, while others 

were mere designers. " 

— Alehsandra Korsakova 



very different. Everybody, men and women 
artists alike, were equally charged with the 
energy of the time. It was a miraculous period. 
All doors were wide open. There was an 
incredible degree of inner freedom. At that time 
artists were never labeled as men or women. 
Rather, you saw that some of them were 
artists, while others were mere designers. 
Tatlin, for instance, was a true artist. Later 
there came to be more and more designers, 
while artists grew rarer. Still, at the beginning 
no one fenced off the women artists. At that 
time there was nothing of that sort being done. 

But basically so many things were not the 
way they are now. Conditions were entirely 
different. At that time everyday life was not 
ruined to the extent it is now. Women were not 
so aware of their femininity. It worried nobody if 
a woman artist had children or not, or if she 
took her children with her or left them and went 
away alone. 

Nor was there a question of artistic 
influence for us. We were all independent 
artists, all on our own. Goncharova, for 
example, was a very good artist, much stronger 
than Larionov, though many people disagree. 
I remember having been to their place several 
times. He would jokingly try to discipline her, 
but he could never influence her creative 
personality. As for me, I was no one's pupil, 
although I did attend classes, first under 
Mashkov and then under Ulyanov and 
Konchalovsky. Tatlin and I did work together but 
were independent of each other. I was not his 
follower. So there wasn't such a thing as being 
someone's pupil at that time. 

Q. However, in discussing, say, Popova, mention is 
always made other having been a pupil ofMalevich. 
Do you think she was talented enough to have 
established an art movement of her own? 

A. Of course. She was an absolutely excellent 
artist. 

• Q. Aleksandra Nikolayevna, one sometimes gets the 
impression — though it is impossible to prove — 
that those in power were trying to control creative 
women by blackmailing them with the well-being and 
security of their children. This was the case with 
Akhmatova and, to some extent, with Tzvetayeva as 
well. Did you feel that having children at that time 
was simply dangerous? 

A. That is very true. This was how it was. What 
I've been talking about so far was the surface 
of life, but deep inside it was tragic. . . 



Heresies/idiomA 93 



Q. Did you feel yourself that you were being 
controlled in this way? 

A. Goodness no, never. I always did as I liked. 
I have always been a troublemaker. Even now I 
work passionately, with nerve. I tear paper and 
break coal. I was in the avant-garde then, and 
I am now. Twice I was expelled from the Artist's 
Union; I was forbidden to exhibit my works, and 
they were taken down from public displays. 
Well, what of it? I reveled in my work again. 

And now those young girls you see in the 
streets, with their painted faces, poor things. 
You look into their eyes and, good gracious, 
what an abyss of suffering you see there! Poor, 
poor creatures — and what is there for them to 
see? I was staying at an artists' retreat in the 
country where children from Armenia were also 
living. I could not bring myself to look into their 
eyes. I just ran away. It was unbearable to see 
so much suffering, such misfortune, and yet at 
the same time such divine beauty. Dear God, 
dear God. . . . ■ 



mh xcenmnHaMH, niaHTa*.,py a Hx 

G^aroncuiyMHeM hx TO tcm Ta K fin 

*°cLfc CT aeBofi,AxMaTo B OH M~ 

>KeT6 W T b ,B W MyBCTBomum,M TO °; 
Ten HMe-n, npocTo onacHo? 

A.K.: 

TaKOHOH6bU,0,3TOOMCm,TOH- 

Koe 3 aMe«iaHHe.KoHenHo,Bcc mto 
a roBopmia - sto noBepxHOCTi,', a n 
ray6nHe sto 6hjio cmem, crpam- 

HO... H BUyKe MHe BCe 3T0 0-4CH1, 
nOHJITHO. 

B.: 

Omymajm jm bm Ha ce6c t3khc 
■ aHTHJKeHCKHeycTaHOBniiV 

A.K.: 

fla Boace moh, Hmcorfla, a Bcer- 
Aa 6njia caMa no ce6e. 51 6buia pa3- 
6oHHHua... 51 h ceftqac pa6oTaio co 
crpacrbio, c nepBOM, pBy 6yinary, 
.noMaio yrojib... H T or«a a 6i.ua b 
aBaHrapae, h ceiiMac asanrapn. Me- 
hsi flBa^AH BbiroHa^H H3 Coio3a, 
He flaBa^iH BbicraBjiaTbca, (.miMaJiii 

KapTHHH C BHCTaBKH... Hy H MTQ? 

51 CHOBa ynHBa^iacb pa6oToii. 

A celiac - sth hcbtohkh na 
yjniuax... fla sto npocTO wep[uin:n 
cymwe! A 3ar;uiHyTb k hum b rjia3a 
- Eojjce, KaKaa Tain 6e3«Ha tockh! 
BeaHbie, 6e«Hbie - m h hto ohh bh- 
A3T?! 51 6bma b x(OMe TBopMecma, h 

T3M >KHJ1H fleTH M3 ApMeHHH, T3K S 

npocTo He uorjia CMOTpeTb hm b 
rjia3a, a y6era;ia. Be«b sto neB03- 
mo>kho BHfleTi. - TaKoe CTpa/iaime, 
TaKoe Hecnacrbe! H, raaBHoe, bcai> 
xaKaa KpacoTa - He3eMHaa!.. lio- 
xe, Boace... H 



94 Heresies/idiomA 



Fei 




What is femininity from the point of view of art? 
Is it an innate characteristic of an artist or a 
conventional evaluative category? Who is the 
woman artist — a variety of man, woman, or 
artist? The Russian members of the IdiomA 
collective suggested that all the artists included 
in the Femininity and Power exhibition answer the 
following questions: 



TaK mto *e TaKoe xeHCTBeHHOcTb c tomkh 3peHHfl 

HCKyccTBa - npupoA/ieHnoe cbohctbo xy/iOAHHKa hjih 

:^oueHOMHa5i HirrepnpeTHpyiomafl KaTeropHa? H kto TaKa« 

JieHlUHHa-XyflOAHI-ma - pa3HOBHflHOCTb AeHmHHbl HJIH 

f:pa3HOBH/iHOCTb xyflOAHHKa? M hi npe/iocTaBJiaeM aBTopaM 

pa60T BblCTaBKH «^\eHCTBeHHOCTb H BJiaCTb» BbICKa3aTbCM 
CaMHM. Mbl npe/JJ10/i\MJlM MM IieCKOJlbKO BOnpOHOB, OTBeTbl na 

KOTopbie npi-iBO£:HTCfl b 3tom HOMepe AypHajia. 



1. Who was your first teacher and how did s/he 
Influence your art? 



2. Are there other artists in your family, and In 
what way does the family influence you? 



3. How did you choose the profession of the 
artist? 



1. Kto 6bm Bami-iM nepBbiM ymiTejieM, KaK oh noBJTH5Di Ha 
. Bauie TBopqecTBO? 

2. ECTb JIH XyflO/KHMKH B CCMbe H KaK BOOSlUe CeMbH BJlH51Jia 

(BJiHaeT) Ha Bauie TBopqecTBO? 

3. Kto hjih KaKi-ie o6cT05iTejibCTBa noBJiH5uiH na BbiSop 
- npocj)eccnn? 

4. KaK Bbi OTHOCHTecb k CBoeMy xy/io^ecTBenHOMy 
06pa3OBanHio? Hy*no jih oho Boo6me? 

5- Mto Bbi MOAeTe CKa3aTb o csoeM npocpeccnonajibHOM 
OKpyAem-iH? 

°- KaKHe npo([)eccHOHajibiibie coBeTbi Bbi odbmno nojiywaeTe, 

K aK k hum oTHocHiecb? BbisaioT jih coBeTbi i lenpneMJieMbie, 
; ecjiH /ja, to KaKne? 

'• KaK Bbi caMH onpeflejmeTe *anp (CTHJib, HanpaBJieHHe), b 
kotopom pa6oTaeTe? 



4. How do you evaluate the art education you 
obtained? Was it necessary? 



5. What can you say about your professional 
environment? 



6. What professional advice are you usually 
given? Is there any you cannot accept? Why? 



7. How would you define the genre/style/trend 
to which your work belongs? 



The following statements are the artists' answers. 



m 



Olga ASTAFIEVA 

Born 1957 

Graduate of Moscow Institute of Architecture 

1. My first teacher was myself. Therefore, the 
influence is immense. 

2. No, not at all. 

3. The principle of proof by contradiction. All my life I 
tried not to do what I didn't feel like doing. Thus, 
the path of least resistance has led me to my 
profession. 

4. I graduated from the Institute of Architecture. 
Artistic education has done me no harm, though 
it can do harm if a person is unable to see and 
think independently and grows into the structure, 
losing their own identity and becoming part of the 
system. 

5. My professional surroundings are amorphous and 
inconstant. There are uneven edges and an 
unsound core, and mostly chance contacts with 
chance people — poets, artists, philosophers, 
passers-by, etc. 

6. As for professional advice, I usually listen to it. 
Most often I use it right on the spot. Sometimes I 
ask for advice myself. As for unprofessional 
advice, I usually ignore it. 

Once a man who did occult science advised me 
to give up doing my objects altogether, as they 
reminded him of magic devices that can affect 
the metaphysical spheres with unpredictable 
results. He also advised me against abstract 
painting, which he thought of as "theurgic 
magic. " Of course, I continue to design my 
objects, but the occultist's advice was not lost on 
me. It helped me understand the connection 
between art and magic, to see clearly the 
direction of contemporary art and my own way. I 
realized that the artist who, with God's help, 
recognizes universal aesthetic laws can 
penetrate such depths and create such things 
(for the well-being of the people, incidentally) that 
even an occultist has neither time nor fantasy 
enough to do. 

Now I am developing safety measures for 
interacting with my objects. I am stricter now in 
my approach to the screening structures that 
before I used to build intuitively inside my 
installations. 

So, there can be no advice that would be 
completely unacceptable. 

7. It is difficult for me to give an exact name for 
The style or trend or genre I work in. There are 
various definitions: conceptual art, 

magic, "enigmatic topology" (a term used by M. 
Mayatzky, a philosopher), an installation, an 
object, a concept-object .... 



"All my life I tried not to do 
what I didn't feel like doing." 



"... there can be no 
advice that would be 
completely unacceptable. 



Cbibra ACTAObEBA 
Pod. a 1957 z. 

OKOHHlUia MoCKOeCKUli 

apxumeKmypHuu imanumym 
1. 

nepBHM hm yunTcjieM 6 W /ia « 
caina. 

BjinaHneHaMoeTBopqecTno co- 
OTBercTBeHHO, orpoMnoe 

2. 

He T . 

3. 

Hex. HHKaKoro. He vacmjioo, 

4. 

npHHmin «OKa3aTejibCTna ot 
npoTHBHoro. Bcro cosnaxejibnyio 
>kh3hb cxapajiacb He acnaxi, xoro 
fro fl&naTb He xoiexca. TaKHM o<5- 
pa30M, no nyra HanMem.mero co- 
npoTHBjieHHSMaTepnajia, npnu Wa 
k CBoeii npocpeccHH. 

5. 

3aK0i«nna Mockobckhh apxn- 
TeKTypHbiii HHCXHxyx. Xyaoxcccr- 
BeHHoe o6pa30BaHne mhc hc noBpe- 

flHJIO. XOTH OHO MOXCeT npMHCCTH 

Bpea, eoiH MejiOBeic He b cocxoamm 

COXpaHHTb CaMOCTOaTejIbHOCTb Hl!- 
fle'HHSI H MbHUJieHHH H "BpaCTaCT" B 

CTpyKTypy, nojmocTbio xepsin cc6si 

H CTaHOBflCb MaCTbKD "CHCTeMbl". 

6. 

Moe npocpeccHOHajibHoe oicpy- 
aceHHe ainopcpHo h Henocxoaimo. C 
HepoBHbiMH KpaaMH h 3m6koh cep- 
flHeBHHOH. 3xo cjiyMaHHbie kohx3k- 

XH CO CJiyiaHHblMH^IOabMH - 1103- 

xaMH, xyaoacHHKaMH, (pH^ococJ)a- 

MH, npOXOJKHMH H X.fl. h x.n. 

7. 

ripocpeccHOHajibHue COBCXbl ji 
o6m<tho BoenpHHMMaro, Maine Bcero 
nojib3yiocb 3xhmh coBexaMH npsiMO 
cpa3y >Ke. HHoraa caMa npomy co- 
Bexa. HenpocpeccHOHa/ibHbie coiie- 
xw a o6hmho He BOcnpHHHMaio.Oa- 
HajKAbi Me^toBeK, 3aHHMaromi»'icsi 
0KKy^bXH3M0M, nocoBexoBa;i Miie 
npeKpaxHXb #e;iaxb moh o6beKXM, 
x.k. ohh HanoMHHJiH eMy Mani'ie- 
CKHe npH6opbi, B03«eHcxByiomne c 
HenpeflCKa3yeMMM pe3y;ibxaxoM 
Ha MexacpH3HMecKHe ccpepbi. TaK- 
«;e oh He coBexoBaji 3aHHMaxbca 
a6cxpaicxH0H >KHBonncbK>, x.k. c 
ero xomkh 3peHH« axo "xeypnme- 
CKaa Maraa". Be3ycji0BH0, a npo- 
flojixcaio 3aHninaxbC5i KOHCxpyiipo- 
BaHHeM cbohx pa6ox. Ho cosexbi 
OKKy^bxHcxa He npona;m flapoM. 
Bjiaroflapa hms HaMajia nomiMaxb 
CBa3b HCKyccxBa h Maran, oTieTJM- 
Bee yBHfle^a HanpaBJieHne coBpe- 
MeHHoro HCKyccxBa h cboh nyxb. M 
noHajia, mto xyfloxcHHK, c BwKbew 
noMOiiibro no3HaBaa 3CxexH l iecKiie 
3aK0HH nocxpoeHHa MHpa, moxct 



96 Heresies/idiomA 



npOHHKHVTb B TaKHC CC|)epbI II CO 

3naTb (npw-ieM, Ha 6jiaro jikmsim) 
to, Ha mto y oKKy/ibTMCTa hc XBa- 

r(II HJIH CJ5aHTa3HH, HJIH 5KH3HH. 

Ceftuac a pa3pa6aTbiBarc> tcxhhkv 

5e30naCHOCTH B3aHM0fleHCTBHH c 

mohmh o6i>eKTaMM. 51 cTana crpo- 
.%t noaxofliiTb k 0prann3au.nn 3a- 

W HTHI)IX CTpVKTyp, KOTOpwe II 

paHbiue CTpoiiJia HHTyiiTiiBno, 

BHVTPH MOHX KOHCTpyKU,HH. TaK 

qro BOo6me nenpvieMJieMbix cobc- 
: tob ana MeHsi He 6wBaeT. 

v 8. 

MHe caMOH noKa ctojkho aaTb 

TO^Hue HaiiMeHOBaHnsi cruna, Ha- 

npaB/ieHiis, >K3Hpa, B KOTpOpblX 51 

pa6oTaio. CymecTByioT pa3/iHMHbie 
bnpeHejieniisi: KOHuenTya^ibHoe iic- 
kvcctbo, Marnsi, "3iuirMaTHMecKasi 
xono^ornsi" (STOTTepMiin npitHaa- 
: . : jie>knT cpmiococfry Mux.MaauKO- 
mv), HHCTaiiJiamisi, o6iieKT, koh- 
itenT-o6i.eKT... 



"Ojibra MEPHblEIEBA 
■fod. e 1962 z. e MocKae 
Okohhiuui BTMK 

Moil nana. Oh Haymm MeHsi pn- 
STOBaTb bha Ha 3aiiu;a cnepeflii h C3a- 
Sjifl. Kor«a a oBJiaacra bccmh npe- 

MyflpOCTSIMH 3TOrO pHCOBaHHSI, TO 

noHsuia: a - xyflox<HHK. 

2. 

CeMbH y MeHa «Be. B oahoh a 
JflOMb, B flpyroft - jKena h MaTb. B 
ynepBOH MHe He Meuiajin pucoBaTb, 

;:II0MOraH ITOCTynHTb b xyao>KecT- 
:(BeHHMH HHCTHTyT, He aaBa;ni HH- 
;;:|aKHX np0(j)eCCHOHajIbHbIX COBC- 

tob, t.k. "bha na 3aiiua" 6h/i Bep- 
X0Mnpocj)eccHona/iH3Ma. Bo bto- 
poft pa6oTaTb Meuia/iH o6a (ii npo- 
flP^xaiOT) , HHCTHTyT 6bw o6iaB- 
•<ieH pyTHHofi (npaBfla, npanea^n- 
bo), h mccto HenocpeflCTBenHoro 
.pucoBaHiw 3aHajin cnopw 06 HCKyc- 
CTBe, TBopMecTBe m t.a. 

3. 

XyaoxHHK - noHaTue, KOTopoe 
WaMeHa 6jin>Ke k cjiobv coctosi- 
MHe, HeM npocpeccna. B stom cny- 
"JaeBaxHo Kaxaoe o6cToaTe;ibCTBo 
(T0HHee-jiro6oe). 
/ 4. 
, HiiKaKiix. 3Haio OTflCJibHbix xy- 

WXHHKOB. 

5. 

BcsiKne. CTapaiocb 3a6i>iTb. 

6. 

Cm.5 

- 7. 

"abOTa. jjpynie 3aTpyflnaiOTca. 



"Artist is a word that, 

for me, denotes a state of 

mind rather than an 

occupation." 



Olga CHERNYSHEVA 

Born 1962 Moscow 

Graduate of Ail-Union Institute of Cinematography 

1. My father. He taught me to draw "Rabbit (Front 
View)" and "Rabbit (Rear View). " After I mastered 
the technicalities of the rabbit, I realized I 

was an artist. 

2. I have two families. The first is the one in which I 
am the daughter; in the second I am the wife and 
the mother. In my parents' family nobody ever 
interfered with my drawing. They helped me enter 
college, and they never gave me professional 
advice, as "Rabbit" was the acme of 
professionalism. In my own family I was and am 
constantly hampered in my work. The college was 
declared to be a waste (which it is), and instead 
of drawing there are endless arguments about 
art, creativity, and so on. 

3. "Artist" is a word that, for me, denotes a state of 
mind rather than an occupation. If so, then every 
(any, to be precise) circumstance is of 
importance. 

4. None. I am acquainted with only a few artists. 

6. Any I am given I try to forget. 

7. I define it as work. Others find it difficult to 
define. ("Cookery" is a disguise, a pretext. If I 
could explain why I do it, then . ... It started with 
the work Patties on a Griddle. Basically I would 
like to stop making cookery works, but I can't.) In 
the whole process there is only one exciting 
moment: it is when .... 



Ilona GANSOVSKAYA 

Born 1955 Moscow 
Graduate of Surikov Art College 

For as long as I can remember I have been fond 
of drawing. I remember long walks with my father 
in the dunes of the Baltic seaside, the 
unforgettable first time I ever saw the sea. Father 
said, "Now imagine how the primitive men 
threading their way through the wilderness 
listened to the roar of the sea without yet 
understanding what it was. And then all of a 
sudden they found themselves facing the 
boundless water. "Asa little girl I started seeing 
the world through the eyes of prehistoric people, 
awe-stricken and solemn. Gradually I learned not 
to concentrate on myself and to accept any 
phenomenon of nature and life as being equal in 
significance to my own existence. 

My father, Sever Gansovsky, was not a 
professional artist, but he used to paint from life 
when he was a young man. He was fond of 
dotted drawing and tried to invent a dotting 
machine. His family descends from Polish nobility 
and Latvian middle-class townsfolk. In his family 
it was obligatory to be able to play Chopin and 



Heresies/idiomA 97 



draw. Of course, after the revolution the whole 
family was repressed. His mother (my 
grandmother) died in a concentration camp in the 
1930s. 

Father told me how he used to stand in endless 
lines in Leningrad in front of a tiny square window 
to find out where prisoners had been taken and 
what they were accused of. Alone and homeless, 
having endured the siege of Leningrad and the 
hardships of the front line, convalescing from 
typhus, and, like many others of his generation, 
surrounded by ruins, he began to rebuild the 
spiritual traditions of his family. He became an 
author and created a library that included many 
books on art, and it was he who instilled me with 
a sense of duty, the duty to continue. Writers: 
Thomas Wolfe, Chekhov, Platonov. Artists: van 
Gogh, German Romantics. And, of course, 
Chopin. It was these abstract reasons rather than 
any concrete teacher that determined my choice 
of painting. Certainly my father was my teacher in 
everything. 

As soon as I became aware of myself as an 
artist, I realized that to be a woman in our art 
scene (at college or in exhibitions) and to 
become successful is hopeless. In any situation 
people are ready to view you as a woman but 
never as an artist or a person. Maybe I was not 
lucky enough: so many acquaintances but no 
environment at all. A feeling of professional 
loneliness has followed me all these years. 
The eighties, after I graduated from college, were 
hard for me. I wanted to exhibit, to work with all 
the passion that a young person has. But there 
were no career possibilities for me, so I had a lot 
of humiliating visits to publishers and cheap, 
rather hard work at the theater. At exhibitions my 
paintings were rejected. For ten years I had to 
listen to criticism such as "This is not painting; 
this is just pretentious women's stuff," which is 
what M. Ivanov, a head of the exhibition 
committee, said to me. "We don't want you to 
depict Lenin on an armored car, but you have to 
keep pace with time and explore up-to-date 
subjects, " said L. Pravdin, member of the 
committee. "False spirituality" — a definition of 
my work by Loshakov, an art critic — nearly 
knocked me out. I was too young, and the whole 
thing depressed me so much that I lay on the 
sofa for hours, unable to move a finger and 
suffering. Now everything has changed. Those 
ambitious and frightening personages, those 
killers of youthful aspirations, those members of 
juries and committees are gone, and it seems 
odd that our lives could ever have depended so 
strongly upon their opinions. 
Now I am free in my inner being, and I can define 
for myself the meaning of my work. To me the 
human essence of the work is much more 



"Kyjiniiapiifl" 3to cicopoc dlido 
cica, noDoa Ecjih 6m a MOivia oto 
o6iiflcn»Tij, to Flo DH aw MOMy, pen t, 

HflCT O TOM, HT06bl o6l>aCIIHTb: 110 

HCMy a gonaio cdoh pa6oTM-,- we- 
nojibjysi Kyjimiapityio TCMy. Bee 
iiaHajiocii cfliioft pa6ora "IThpomc 
kii oa npoTHDiic" Boo6me to a xo 
ny npoicpaTHTB aejiaTb "icyjimrap 
hdiq " pa6oTbi, ho iiHicaic no Mory 
Bo BceM npoiiecce pa6oTM ecTb 
TO/IbKO OflHH 3axBaTWBaromnM MO- 
MeHT - 3to Kor... 



"To me the human 

essence of the work is 

miach more Important 

than form or style." 



HjioHa TAHC0BCKA5I 
Pod. e J 955 z., e MocKoe 
OKOimiuia XydoxecmeeiutbLu unc- 
mumym um. CypuKoea 

51 HaMa;ia "BiiaeTb" h pucoBaTb - 
KaK ce6a noMHK). fla/ieiaie npory/i- 
kh c othom no flKmaM BajiTHHCKoro 
Mopa. He3a6biBaeMbift riepBHM 
pa3, Kor«a yBHAeaa Mope. Otcu 
CKa3a.n: "Tenepb npeflcraBb ce6e, 
KaK nepBo6biTHbie Jlroaii, npo6npa- 
acb CKB03b flHKiie jieca h npocrpaH- 
CTBa, cflHiiiaT rpoxoT npii6ost m He 
noHHinaiOT eme, mto sto. H BApyr 
BbixonaT k 6ecKOHe i moft Bo«e..." 
Toraa aeBOMKOH a CTaaa BHfleTb 
rjia3aMn nepBoro ye/iOBeKa - 
CTpauiHo h TopxecTBeHHo. 3to oc- 
Tanocb HaBceraa. noaBiijiacb no- 
CTeneHHo cnoco6HocTb jiw6oe aBjie- 

HHe EIpHpOflbl M }K.H3HH npHHH- 
MaTb KaK OAHHaKOBO 3HaMHTejIb- 

noe - HapaBHe c co6cTBeHHWM cy- 
mecTBOBaHneM. He cocpeAOTami- 
BaTbca Ha ce6e. 

OTeu. TaHCOBCKHH CeBep Ocjihk- 

C0BH4 He 6bUI XyflO>KHMKOM B npO- 

cpeccHOHa/ibHOM cMbicjie. Ho oh b 
mo-toaocth nwcaa c HaTypbi, nemji 

pHCyHKH "TOMKaMH". H3o6peTa;i 

MauiiiHKy fljia "ToyKOBaHHa". 3a 
rpaHHueft h y Hac ero khhth bmxo- 

AH.1H C C06CTBeHHbIMH liaJHOCTpa- 

Uhsimm. Era ceinbn nponcxoAHJia M3 

nOJlbCKHX apMCTOKpaTOB H JiaTblLU- 



CKHXMeu;aH(r po; l cK lt x;MO a eM) 

C .muoc ll0 6 S 3 ;lTC ,„ ,„ ; 

roe.CaMocoGoH.nocc;,,,, ? 

U'-HBcepoacTBCMHUKuoKaaai,, 
coc,aHb, H paccT Pe , slll „, ErOM 

Mo^aeyujKa.nomCwaBTp,, '! "• 

Tb.xroAaxB.narepe.OT.up^;,; 

sb.Raii.KaKBjIcn,,,,-^^, ( 

oecKOHeMHHxoHcpcaaxKKHai'n^. 

HOMV OKOUIKV: V31iaT[> - r.U'? 3;, 
MTO? 

Be3flOMa,6e3&iii3Ki,xnocu. 

6jiOKa fl i,i, JlenHnrpaacKoro (j )poM . 
Ta, Tiicpa, KaK mhohic jiioju T oro 
noKOjicHHn - n a pa3ua,'iniiax - c 

TCM 60/lbUIHM ynOpCTBOM CTa.H H03- 

po>K fl aTb ayxoBnyio jmimhio cBocii 
ceMbM, CTa/i niicaTe;iCM, co6pa;i 
6n6.nnoTeKy, b tom mhoic no uckvc- 

CTBV , H BaOXlUl B MCIISI Uflnr - npO- 

aojixaTb... riHcaTejiii: JlaKciiccc 
(ncjiaHACu), Toiuac By,ib(p, Hcxon, 
HnaTOHOB, xyaoxmiKii: Ban Tor, 

HCMeUKHC pOMflHTIIKII. KoilCMIIO- 

LLFoneH... 

3th a6cTpaKTHi,ie npiimiHM no- 

BJIIiajIH Ha Bbl6op MOHX 3aH5ITIll'i 

>KHBonHCbio, a He xaKoii-TO kohk- 
peTHbift yiMTejib. Kohc^iiio, vmiitc- 
jieM bo BceM 6bi^ - otcu. 

C MoineHTa, Koraa cc6si oco3iia- 
eiub, a noHa^a, vro 6i>iti> xchuui- 
Hoii b Hameft xy«o>KecTBeimoH epe- 
«e (b HHCTHTyTe, na BbicTaBKax) h 
CTapaTbca "BbinrpaTb" - 6e3naAC5K- 
ho. B aro6wx cnTyau,nax Te6a toto- 

Bbl BOCnpHHHMaTb K3K XeHIUHlIV, 

ho He KaK xyflOKHHKa hjih, CKa- . 
aceM, HHTepecHoro iie^oBCKa. Ha- 
npHMep, y Mena ho nocjieaiiero 
BpeineHH He 6mjio Apy3CH-My« l »m 
h a ot 3Toro CTpaaa^a. C oahhm mo- 

CKOBCKHM n03T0M nOCTaBH/IH 3KC- 

nepHMCHT: nonpo6ofiaTb npocro 
apyxHTb. Pacna^oct: eMV lie hhtc- 
pecno, B ero MyaccKofi ro.iOBC - hc- 
MCTpe6nMoe "3aBoenwBaTb". Mo- 

5KCT 6bITb, MHC npOCTO He BC3J10 iia 

KOMnaHHio: orpoMHoe KOJiimecTBO 

"3HaK0MMX", HO "CpCAbl" " HCT. TiO 

BceM roAaM ckbosht mothb npocj)ec- 
CMOHa^tbHoro oflUHonecTBa. Boci>- 
MHAecflTbie roAM.oraa oKOHiin^a 

HHTCTHTyT, T5I>KeHbI TBOpWCCKIl. 
XOTe^OCb BblCTaBJIJITbCH, pa60T3Tb 

co bccm niMow roiiocrh. Pa6oTM ne 
6hjiq, yHH3KTe.m>Hbie npiixoaw ' c 
y^HUbi" b HSAaxe^bCTaa, aemcBaa 
11 aobojibho xaxeaasi pa6oTa b TeaT- 
pax. Ha Bbic-raBKH ^hbovhici. hc 
npiiHiiMaaii. B TeMCHne AL-ca-rn^eT 

BMC.iymnBa.na xaKiie ouchkh: ' Jto 
H e XHBonwcb, sto MaHcpuwe >kch- 
CKHe KapxuHKH" - M.M«aHOB, xy- 
AOKHiiK , npeAceaaTejib B bicTa«KO 
M a. "Mm hc roBopuM BaM, mto Hy*- 



98 Heresies/idiomA 



HoniicaTb Jlcmtna n;i 6poHeenKe, 
no nnflo kuk-to coo6p;-i30i!!>inaTbc>i 
co upcMCHCM, saaar.axi, cc6e cor.pc- 
meHHWC TeMw...'' - m.tch p.bicxai?- 

j(OM W.npaBflllH. A 3X0 JiCKVCCTBO- 

nC 3 JIomaKOB, "jIo>Knaji ayxois- 
iiocTb" - 3to onpejse.TCiiiie xoua no 
■MOJioflOCTH npoioBejio na Menu 
vShhctbchhoc nne'iax/ieiiue. 51 
flO/iro b Aenpeccmi Jioiai/ia na am- 
jiane ne b a!Aax paooxaxi, - ncpe- 
''■jKHBa^a... 

Tenepii nee imawc: sxu aMouuw- 
03Hi>ie 3/ioBeuuie cjmrypw - y6nii- 
"UbicTper.bieHHii iohocxji - mjichw 
KOMJicciiiV ;: BbicxaBKOMOB ocxa- 
"jiHCb ga.xeKO nosaan, 11 CTpanno, 
iiTO Kama .-kiishl- xa:-; saBuce.xa ox 

H X MHCHHH. 

Tenepb BnyxpeHne ckoooahi.im 
iiejIOBCKOM moxho onpeae.nHTb 
:cmhcji ii x<anp CBoes": pa6oxi>i: 

fljw mcksi ropa3ao i;a>:cnec cjxip- 

1 mm 11 ctii/isi pa6oTbi - ee >ie.noBe>ie- 

v cKoeco«ep>KaHne. Ebiiutex, mto bcc 

are coBnaaaeT - mm 6or. Mchsi hc 

dco6enHO HHTcpecyiOTJiimnbie no- 

JICK1I CpOpf.li).' XVAOKHHKOM II CPO 

"flapw" CBoero BuyxpeHnero "si" 

3pHTe/I10. "51 X3K JKHBy, 51 TaK BII- 
■;'jKy", HAH MOflHMH K0HU,CnXyaAII3M. 
; BO BCeM 3X0M MHe BHAHTCSI HeK35I 

Heo65i3aTejibHocTi> . remfajibHWH 
; KOimenTya/iHCT (ho h McnoBeK) He- 

MeUKHH XyflOJKHHK FlOHTep K)k- 

Kep. y Hero, HanpiiMep, hhahbha.V- 
. ajibHoe ocMbicjieHtie 06iyero Mh- 

pa, a He ceosi ;hi>-iho. 
i; 51 h caMa onpesejisHO cboh 3ana- 

Tiia, Mo>KeT GbiTb, ne K3K Xhbo- 
:»n!icb, a KaK J\eno. Ecah sxo bojihv- 
Ser Kat: Xo.xcx h KpacKii - si pajxa. 

.Earn 6u b Harnett CTpane 6i>mo bo3- 

MO^CHO RO-HaCTOameMy 33HHMaXb- 

cff3am,nT0K ripupoflw, si, mokct 
6hti>, ii36paAa 6m Apyryro cpopiny 
AeaxejibHocxii. A ceftwac sto e«HH- 
CTBeHHbift una. MeHa cnoco6 "Jlio- 
6iiTb" h "npeAJiaraTb JIio6iixb" oflii- 
HaKOBo: ce6a, KaineHb, flepeBO, 
IlTHAy, 3mck>, floxAb. 

Ha3anaAe TaKoe "ii3o6peTanne 
BejiocuneAa", KaK BereTapnaHCTBo 
H3coo6pa>KeHHH ryMannocTH, npn- 

i °TbI jrjisi 6e3AOMHWX XCHBOXHblX, 

pa3jiimHi,ie SKOJiorxmecKiie npo- 
rpaMMbi - npoii3om.no Aaisno, ii mi>i 

WlflUM De3V/!bTaTbI B HX JKH3HH 11 
OTHOUICHHSIX MOKAy AKDflbMH. 
A y Hac, B AHKOCTH H aceCTOKO- 

Ct *i, Biixy noKa cmhcji niicaxb xs- 
KHeKapxMHbi. QaMoexpyAnoe - 
ywpxaxbcsi Ha rpami: Koraa sxo 
y*eHeTOAbKo >KnBonncb, ho eme 
H H b KoeM CAy qae ne ^iixepaxypa 
Whcto xeHCKne npocTwe npo6jie- 



HaxajiHsiKAMEHEUKASl 
Pod. e 1959 z., a MocKoe 
Okohhumi MocKoacKiiu meKcmujib- 
iibiu UHCmumym. 

Mosi cecxpa. Oha pwcoBajia acbo- 
MeK h MaAbMMKOB (npuMep Aiisi noA- 
paxannsi) ii paccKa3bmajia MHe 
cxpauiHbie CK33KH. Ohh BH3biBajin 
y MeHsi npoxecx - xoxe/iocb, mxo6w 
CK33KH paccKa3i>iBaAHCb Apynie. C 
xex nop mom KapxiiHKii paccKa3M- 
Baiox MHe xaKiie »;e hctophh h xaK 
>kc Bbi3biBaiox npoxecx. Hxo Kaca- 

CXC5I pHC0B3HHbIX ACBOweK H Ma/lb- 

i ihkob, xo see Ha Mecxe. 

Moh xyAoxecTBa 6mah cxoAb 

HaCTOHMHBM, MXO B KOHUe KOHUOB 

npoQynyum xmecAaBue ccmi,h, h 
MeHst OTflaAH roxoBHxbcsi b xyAOKe- 

CTBeHHWH BV3. H AajlCe OXMCH5I 
uxo-xo 0»HAa^H nOCXOJIHHO. 

C npocpeccwoHaAbHOH cpeAoft ox- 
HomeHHsi ApyJKecKwe. Ceiiqac 
HHorAa moxho no/iyMHXb no^re3- 
hvio HHcpopMauHio. PaHbiue eme 
imxepecHo 6wao noroBopnxb, a 

X3K>Ke BblnilXb. 

B pa3Hbie xBopyecKHe nepiioAw 
coBexbi noAyna.xa. EIocjieAHHii 3a- 
nOMHHBIIIHHCSI coBex - mxo Li,eHa 3a- 
bhchx ox pa3Mepa. EfocAeAHHe Asa 
roAa, c xex nop, KaK Bee yexajw b 

AMepHKy, XHnHHHblX cobcxob He 

no.riyMaK>. 

Cbovi >K3Hp onpeAeAsno KaK 
Bno/iHe peaAbHbifi. flpyrwe Majio 
xoro, mxo cxapaioxca onpeAeAwxb, 
ho Aaxe HHorAa roBopsix Boxyx. Bo- 
o6me a npeAnoMHxaro «axb BHCKa- 
3axbca cbohm KapxHHaM. Moe acao 
yraAaxb hx h onpeAe^HXb npaBHAb- 
Hoe Mecxo b MHponopaflKe. 



"The last piece of 

advice I rememiber was 

that the price of the 

pictiare depends 

on its size." 



important than form or style. It sometimes 
happens that the three happily coincide in one 
picture. I am not very interested in artistic 
exploration of individual forms, nor do I care 
much for cheap conceptualism or for the way an 
artist makes a gift to the viewer of his/her ego — 
all this "this is the way I see it" stuff. I see these 
approaches as somewhat unreliable. The brilliant 
conceptualist and personality Gunter Uecker 
does not demonstrate himself but rather his 
unique understanding of the universe. 

I would say that what I do is not painting but 
work. If it moves someone as oil on canvas, I am 
happy. But if it were possible to achieve real, 
rather than make-believe, environmental control 
in our country, I would have chosen some other 
means. As it is, painting is the only way for me to 
show my love and to make others love whatever 
it might be: myself, the stone, the tree, the bird, 
the snake, or the rain. 

In the West vegetarianism for humanitarian 
reasons, asylums for homeless animals, and 
various other ecological projects were "invented" 
long ago, and we can see the results both in the 
world and in relations among people. But in our 
brutal reality I still think it worthwhile to make 
paintings like mine. The most difficult thing is to 
stay within the territory where a canvas is no 
longer a mere painting but is not yet literature. 

Natalya KAMENETZKAYA 

Born 1959 Moscow 

Graduate of Moscow Textile Institute 

1. My sister. She liked to draw pictures of boys and 
girls (thus setting me an example) and to tell 
horror stories. They created a feeling of protest in 
me; I wanted a different sort of story to be told. 
Since then my own pictures have been telling me 
the same kind of tale and evoking the same 
protest in my soul. As for the boys and girls, they 
are also present. 

2. My artistic activities were so persistent that they 
awoke ambitions in my family. I was sent to a 
teacher to prepare for entering an art college. 
Since then my parents have constantly been 
expecting something of me. 

5. I have friendly relations with the professional 
environment. Even now one can obtain useful 
information. Before it was sometimes interesting 
to talk and have a drink together. 

6. I have received advice during my different creative 
periods. The last piece of advice I remember was 
that the price of the picture depends on its size. 
During the last two years, when everybody left for 
America, I haven't been receiving any 
professional advice at all. 

7. I define the genre I work in as quite real. Other 
people not only try to define it but sometimes 



m 



Heresies/idiomA 99 



even say it out loud. In general I prefer to give the 
floor to my pictures, to let them speak for 
themselves. My task is to guess their message 
and determine the proper place for them in the 
public realm. 

Yekaterina KORNSLOVA 

Born 1957 Moscow 
Graduate of Surikov Art College 

My first teacher was Boris Birger, who used to 
speak about the precious quality of the painted 
surface and considered it to be the necessary 
condition of any picture. Now I like this quality 
only in Old Masters. When I was seventeen I was 
a student of Tatyana Selvinskaya's, and I love her 
now. At college my teacher was Salakhov, who 
was never in the way. 

During my childhood when I was in bed with a 
cold, my mother often gave me art books to keep 
me busy while she was doing something around 
the house. This was how it started. When I was 
twelve my father took me to Birger's studio. Now 
I have a family of my own that constantly 
prevents me from working. 

Lately I have been very much in need of a 
professional environment, but I cannot find a 
circle of my own. I feel isolated and cannot see 
the reason why, and I don't like it either. Maybe it 
is this way because I became an artist; my father 
is a poet and many authors used to come to our 
house. My husband, an artist as well, often tells 
me I should have become an author. Whatever 
advice I am given I listen to with eagerness; I am 
always impressed, but somehow I always return 
to where I stood before. 

I am absolutely unable to classify the genre I 
work in. It might be "the ruins of realism. " It is 
interesting to test it for durability. I would say I 
belong to the Moscow arriere-garde, which is 
extremely nonconceptualist art. I often use 
children's drawings in my works. Plagiarism is a 
sort of creative method. I use my daughter's 
pictures as if they were a balloon to fly. 

Lyudmila MARKELOVA 

Bom 1959 Moscow 

Graduate of Moscow Institute of Polygraphy 

There were no artists in my parents' family, but I 
am married to an artist whose father is a sculptor 
and whose grandfather, Nikolai Kupreyanov, was 
well known for his graphics. My first art teacher 
was the painter Volodya Braynin, whom I met by 
mere chance. It was he who showed me how to 
mix colors and what a palette was for. He 
strengthened my will and taught me how to see 
and understand painting. I was lucky, because 
after going through his training I had no problems 
at college. Actually there was no real professional 



"I am absolutely 

unable to classify the 

genre I work in." 



EKaTepHHa KOPHHJIOBA 
Podujiacb e J 957 z., a Mockgc, 
OKonmuia Mncmumym um. CypuKo- 
ea. 

Moii nepBHii ymrtjib - Bopnc Ehd- 
rep. Oh jik>6hji tobophtb o flparo- 

IieHHOCTH >KHBOriHCH0H noBepxHo- 

cth h mwvan ee HenpeMeHH MM yc- 

JIOBHeM BCHKOH KapTHHKH, a MHe 

ceiwac sto HpaBH-rca tojibko y cra- 
Phx MaerepoB. B 17 jieT a yMKwaci, 

y TaTbHHH CcflbBHHCKOH H OMeHb' 

ee jho6jik>. B HHCTHTyTe yw;iacb y 
CajiaxoBa, kotophh mhc He Meiuaji.' 

B «eTCTBe, Kor«a a 6ojie/ia h He 
xoawia b fle-rcKHH can, Maina Mne 
c6pacMBaJia Ha nocre;ib Bee ajib6o- 
mh no >KHBoriHCH, a catna mna 3a- 
HHMaTbca flejiaMii. Tax Bee h Haya- 
.nocb. A nana, Kor-fla MHe 6hjio 12 
jict, OTjxaji MeHa yiHTbca k Biipre- 
py. Tenepb y MeHa eon, cBoa 
ceMba, KOTopaa nepMaHeHTHO Me- 
maeT. Cbohm cymecTBOBainreM. 

HcnbiTHBaro nocneflHee BpeMa 
6ojibiuyio n0Tpe6H0CTb b npocpeccir- 
OHajibHOH cpene, ho He Haxox<y 
CBoero Kpyra. HyBCTByio ce6a b 
H30Jian,HH, a no^eMy - He 3Haio. H 

MHe 3TO He HpaBHTCa. Bo3MOXHO, 

3to npoH30iiuio noTOMy,iiTO moh 
OTeu, - no3T, h b HauieM «OMe Bcer- 
fla co6npa.7incb ;niTepaTopbi. Iiosto- 
My mom uyx - xyflo>KHHK mhc cone- 
Tye-r: "Haflo 6uno craTb yiHxepaTo- 
poM". 

Boo6me, KaKne 6m cobctw si hh 
nojiyMajia,a Bceraa BbicjiyinHBaio 

HX C JKaflHOCTbK). OhH MCHH OMeHb 

BneyaT^aKDT, ho a Bcerfla, KaK 
BaHbKa-BcTaHbKa, B03Bpam,a[ocb b 
ncxoflHoe no^o»ceHHe. 

MHe coBepuienHo HenoHsmro, 
KaK onpefle/iHTb xaHp, b kotopom 
a pa6oTaio. HaBepHO, "o6jiomkh pe- 
a^n3Ma", hc HHTepecHO npouepsiTb 
nx Ha XH3Hecnoco6HOCTb. 51 6w 
CKa3a^a, mto npuHafl/iexy tc-ic- 
hhio MOCKOBCKoro apteprapaa. 
ripeae^bHO HeKOHuenTyajibHoe hc- 

KyCCTBO. 

B nocneflHee BpeMa a Macro hc- 
noiib3yio b pa6oTe «eTCKne KapTiiH- 
kh, njiarnaT - mto-to Bpofle xy«o- 
>KecTBeHHoro MeTOfla. 51 no;ib3yioci> 
pwcyHKaMH flOMepw KaK B03flyin- 

HblM lUapOM - flJia OTpMBa. 



100 Heresies/idiomA 



jlKMMnna MAPKEJ10BA 
Pod. 1959 z., MocKae 
OKOHHiuia MocKoecKiul nojiuzpa- 
(hu'tecKiiu UHcmumym, (paKyjw- 
mem parpiiKii. 

g ceMte poflHTejieft yao>KHHKOB 
neir, a a 3aMy*:eM 3a rpacpHKOM, 
OTeu ero CKyjibmrop, a aca Myxa 

6bW H3BeCTHbIH pHCOBajlhLUHK 

jJhk. Hhk. KynpesiHOB. llepBbiH 
y>jHTe/[b - Bemoan BpafiHUH, >khbo- 
UHceu. OiaBa Bory, mto coBepmen- 
HO oiyiafiHO nonajia k HeMy. Oh m 
noKa3aJi, KaK CMemnBaTb KpacKH h 
jyist Mero Hy>KHa najiHTpa. 3aKajin- 
saji xapaKTep, Hay-niA CMOTpeTb h 
noHHMaTb ^HBonncb. MHe noBe3- 
■jio: nocjie 3aHaTMji c hhm npocfiec- 
CHOHajibHoe oopa30BaHHe aajiocb 
TierKO, xotsi HMKaxoro o6yueHnsi b 
HHCTHxyTe no cvth ne 6w.no, wh- 
jiwcb flpyr y Apyra. EAHUCTBennoe, 

ijTO 6l>IJ10 HHTepeCH]>IM B HHCTMTyTe 

- jieKiiHM A.A.floporoBa no hcto- 

pi)H HCKyCCTB. 

Bcerfla crpeMHjiacb CTaTb xy- 

HOJKHHKOM-npOCpeCCHOHajIOM, noa- 

TOMy HHKoraa He AVMajia o CTaTyce 
xyflO>KHHKa-/iio6HTejiii. XyaoxecT- 
BeHHaa cpe«a HamiHae-rcsi c AOMa, 
cceMbH, flaxe b okho bhach My3eft 
;H3JiniHHx HCKyccTB. Hacro AP)'3bsi 

:XyAO>KHHKH, raaAsi B okho, tobo- 
;P«T, MTO rOTOBbl npO>KHTb 3Aeci> 
;bCK) XII3Hb. 

THnnMHbie cofieTbi Mya<a - mi- 
uiHKOMno3iiu.nn, 3apa6aTbiBai"i Ba- 
JiiOTy h He K^iaAH jiokth na cto;i. 
&:Y3tn - TeMa mohx nocrceAHnx 
pa6oT - 3to cno>KHbiH chmboji. y3eji 
:M0>kho 33BH3aTb, 3aTsiHVTi>, pacny- 
|aTt hjih pa3py6iiTi>. EblBaKOT V3JIM 

;H3 BepeBOK, H3 Tp5inOK, V3/IM B 0T- 

HomeHHsix. y3Jii»i Tynie, cjia6i>ie, 
Kpyrawe, c 3axjiecT0M, c neTJiefi. 
y^cn na mee caMoyonAuw. Ysen 
HauuHypKe. Kokctjihbwh 6aHT. 
VztJi OTiiasiHHsi h pacnymeHHbiH 
y3tn Ha rajiCTVKC. Cn/iCTennbie 
najibitbi, y3e.n1 bojioc na 3aTi>i./iKe, 
nepenjieTCHHe ciWKCTa h >Keji03H0- 
SopoxHbift y3CA, KpecT CnacnTC- 

JI 1| y3AH Be4H0CTH B CTapilHHOM 

opHaMeHTe. Po«AeHne n nepiswH 
y3eji - nynoBHHa, Te;ia, cmreTen- 
HHeB o6i>5[thh. 3Ta 6ecKone4Hasi 
■}enb y3A0B - bcfo *n3Hb, ao caMoii 
CMepni, oco3naHnoe h noAC03na- 
, T e.nbHoe 3aBsi3i>iBaHiie h pa3Bsi3w- 
B aHne v37iob. 

"to KacaeTcsi mohx cioxctob, to 
j^'tpKa 3aKaHMHBaeTC5i tcm, mto 

6ej IbeCKpyMHBatOT, II OTJKHMaiOT, 

B0Tn"y 3Jlw " nosiBH/iiiCb noc.ne 
%aMeK" h "IloiiocKaHbii". i1o-mo- 
M v, Bee npoii30Lujio oqenb 33koho- 

J| epHo. 



"All of life until 

death is an endless chain 

of knots, with their 

conscious and unconscious 

tying and untying." 



training when I became a student; rather, we 
learned things from one another. The only 
interesting thing was a course in art history given 
by A. A. Dorogov. 

I always wanted to be a professional artist and 
never even gave a thought to what being an 
amateur is. When my friends who are artists look 
out of my windows, they often say they could live 
here their whole lives. My husband's typical 
advice is that I should paint compositions, earn 
hard currency, and never put my elbows on the 
table. 

In my latest works I have been trying to 
investigate the knot. It is a complex symbol. A 
knot can be tied up, tightened, disentangled, 
untied, or cut. There can be knots made of ropes 
or rags or relations. There are taut, loose, round, 
square, and noosed knots. A knot on the 
suicide's neck. A knot on the shoelace. A 
coquettish bow. A knot of despair, and a necktie 
knot undone. Clasped hands, a bun on the nape 
of the neck, an intricate plot in the story as well 
as a railway junction, our Savior's cross, nodes of 
eternity in an ancient ornament. The birth and the 
first knot on the umbilical cord, bodies entwined 
in an embrace. All of life until death is an endless 
chain of knots, with their conscious and 
unconscious tying and untying. 



Tatyana PETROVA 

Born 1957 Moscow 
Graduate of Surikov Art College 

My first art teacher was my great-grandmother, 
who brought me up until I was five years old. 
She told me stories about her prehistoric, 
prerevolutionary life; she taught me half-Christian, 
half-pagan prayers; she taught me her own 
harmonious relations with nature, which she took 
as being part of her own self. She created the 
very possibility of my becoming an artist — that 
is, the ability to see the world in my own way. 

My parents are not artists, but they were 
very helpful and attentive to me. I don't 
remember myself as anything but an artist; 
I never doubted my choice, because it isn 't my 
occupation but my very essence, however high- 
flown that might sound. When I was seven I 
attended an art class taught by a very good 
and pure person, the professional artist 
Ye. A. Serykova. She always had faith in me, 
and this also played an important role, even 
though I never actually chose what I would do in 
life. It simply all happened so that I am what I 
was intended to be. 

I continued my training first in art school and then 
at college. Maybe it was too much, for schooling 
must add to personal qualities, not vice versa. 

Heresies/idiomA 101 



Among the artists who surround me there are 
both men and women, though I have met gifted 
women more often than gifted men — / don 't 
know why. 

I cannot always understand and accept other 
people's advice, because I don't know for sure 
myself what it is I'm doing. I can only feel it. 

I do not confine myself to the framework of a 
direction or style, and I would not like anybody to 
do so. First of all, I don 't think it is important, and 
in addition, we are all on our own, though 
sometimes I feel like finding a harbor of some 
kind. 

Tatyana SPASOLOMS&AYA 
Born 1950 Moscow 
Graduate of Surikov Art College 

/ cannot say that I had a First Teacher, a One and 
Only. At art school I worked under Tatyana 
Selvinskaya. All of us at that time were working 
a la Selvinskaya. She was a master. Later on one 
overcomes the master's influence and works on 
one's own. When I was at college I studied under 
Mikhail Mikhailovich Kurilko. He was an art 
collector and a person of genuine culture. I 
remember the cultural atmosphere that he 
created around himself. 

In principle, inspiration does not come from a 
person but from a philosophy, especially that 
which derives from literature. I love Dostoyevsky; 
I admire the transparent abyss that opens up 
beyond the world of his characters. 

My father was not an artist, and though there 
were sculptors in the family, I did not live in an 
artistic milieu when I was a little girl. But my 
father was very attentive to my childhood 
attempts at art; he even had a folder to put my 
drawings in. It was through him that I first sensed 
the spirit of art. Now that I have a circle of my 
own, my friends are mostly artists, but when I 
work I do not take their opinion into account. 
Other people are always a nuisance. 

All my works are different. My critics would like to 
see more stylistic homogeneity in my paintings, 
but I am afraid that that might turn out to be 
merely an artistic device. I also feel strongly 
influenced by stage design. When I worked at the 
theater I always had to deal with drama written 
according to differing individual laws, with 
different directors. You cannot keep using the 
same device when you work with different 
themes. 

People sometimes say that there is light in some 
of my works, while others are all darkness. To me 



Tai-bsma I1ETPOBA 
Pod. o 1955 ^., e Mockgc 
Okouhumi XydoxecmaeiiHbiu 
UHcmumym um. CypuKOoa 

Moii nepnwH yMHTeab b hckvccxbc 
mosi npa6a6yniKa, KOTopaa Bocnu- 
THBajia mchsi ao nsmi jicr - paccKa- 

33MI1 CBOCVt flOHCTOpi-meCKOH, ao- 
peBOJIIOIJ,H0HH0H >KM3HH, M0J1HTB3- 
MI1 Ha HOMb nOiiyXpiICTHaHCKMMU H 

nojiysi3bi<-iecKHMn, opraHHunocTbio 
CBoevi, OTHomenH5iMH c npiipoaoii 
K3K c MacTbro ce6si caMofi. Ona no- 
Banaaa Ha caMy bo3mo>khocti> 

CTaTb XVAOXCHHKOM, T.C. BOCnpHHH- 

MaTb Miip no-CBOCMy. TaK si ayMaio. 

MOH pOAHTCnH He XVflOJKHHKH, 

ho Bceraa noaaep>KHBaan mchsi h 

OTHeC/IHCb KO MHe BHHMaTe/lbHO. 51 

He noMHio ce6a b flpyroM KaMecTBe, 
HHKoraa hc coMHeBaaacb b Bi>i6ope 
npocpecCHH, noTOMy mto sto hc 
ciwibKO npocpecCHH, CKOJ1BKO Moe 
cymecTBOsaHHsi, KaK 6m bmcoko- 
napHO sto hh 3Byuajio. 

C ceMM jieT xofliina b ctvaiiio k 
xopomeMy h miictom)' MeaoBCKy, 
npocpeccHOHa/ibHOMy xyao>i<HiiKy 
E.A.CcpsiKOBOH, KOTopasi Bceraa 
Bepujia b mchsi, mto To>Ke cbirpaao 
6ojibinyio pojib b Bbi6ope ny™, xo- 
tsi si h hc Bi>i6jnpa/ia HHKoraa, Bee 
ujjio caMO co6oh, h si Ta, kcm aoax- 
Ha 6wTb. Xotsi BCsiKHii nyn. hmcct 

npOTSIXeHHOCTb. . . 



" ... I newer actually 
chose what I woaald do in 
life. St simply a! 
so that I am what 1 was 



Xyao>KecTBeHHoe o6pa30BaHiic 
npoflOJDKajia b Mockobckoh xyao- 
xecTBeHHOM uiKoac m b HHCxiiTyTe. 
51 ayMaio, 'ito Bee 3to Haao 6i>iao 
npoiiTM, xotsi, MOxeT 6wTb, ne b 
TaKOM KOJiHwecTBe, noTOMy hto 
aiKoaa aoa>KHa 6r>iTb b aonojiHCHHe 
k jihhhocth, a He Hao6opoT, He cko- 
BHBaTb, a pacKpenomaTb. Ho hto 
6buio, to 6buio. 



B MOCM OK P y>KeHHH H MVJKMH- 

hm, H xeHiiwHu, xots I Taaan-ivu,- 
bwx ^eHmnH a Bcrpewana 6ojii,iuc 
y» He 3H3K) noneMy. He Bceraa no - 

HHMaiO H npHHHMaiO HyXHC coise- 

th, xo T a 6h h npocpeccHonanbubie 
noTOMy mto hiikto He M05Kex smiTi,' 
to, mto a aeaaio, saxe H a caMa. 51 
3to TOJibKo MyBCTByio. 51 cavia ne 
yKjiaabiBaio ce6a hh b xaioie pa M - 
kh, HanpaBneHHa, cimh h hc xotc- 
Jia 6h 3to aeaara, noTOMy mto hc 

CMHTaiO 3T0 Ba>KHbIM H IIOTOMy 

eme, mto Bee mh caMH no ccoe. Xo- 
Ta Huoraa h xoneTca npn6nxbcsi k 
K3KOMy-Hn6yflb 6epe>KKy. B moux 
pa6oTax HeT 3aKOHMeHnoro o6pa3a 
aeHCTBHa, SToaeiicTBHe npoaoaxa- 
CTca, oho HMeeT cbohctbo nepexe- 
KaTb H3 oaHoro xoacTa b apyroii. 
Mx Ha3BaHHa - "B nyTH", "Hay- 
nnie", "YxoaaiuHe" - omchi, ycaon- 
hw: sto to, mto HMeeT npoTsiaceH- 
HocTb, npoaoajKemie, KaK mosi 
>KH3Hb, HanpHMep. Ohh 06 oaiiOM h 
tom xe. Ho ohh HMeiOT naMajio, no- 
3TOMy 3th o6pa3bi apxaHMHbi. 

TaTtsiHa CIIACOJIOMCKAJI 
Pod. e 1950 z. e Mocme 
Oicoit'tujia CypuKoecKuu 
xydoxecmeeiiitbiu imcmumym 

51 ne Mory CKa3aTi>, mto kto-to 6w;i 

MOHM nepBbIM YMHTCaeM. CTVflCH- 

tkoh a yMHJiacb y TaTbaHM Ccai>- 
BHHCKofi - mm Bee Toraa pa6oTaan 
"noa Hee". 3to 6wao o6ineHiie c 
MacTepoM - to caMoe, ot KOToporo 
noTOM OTpMBaeuibca h waeuib b 
npoTHBOBec. B HHCTHTyTe 6bia Mh- 
xami MnxafiaoBUM KypwaKo - Koa- 
aeKUHonep, MeaoBeK noaanHHoii 
KyabTypw. SL noMHio to xyabTyp- 
Hoe noae, KOTopoe oh co3aaBaa 
BOKpyr ce6si. B npHHunne, Mepna- 
euib He b MeaoBeKe, a b cpnaoco- 
CpHH, oco6eHHO b cfiHaococpHH MC- 
pe3 aHTepaTypy. Omchb aio6aio mh- 
TaTb flocToeBCKoro, ara6aio Ty npo- 
3paMHyio 6e3AHy, KOTopaa otkph- 
BaeTca He b Mtipe ero nepcoHaaceii, 
a b MHpe 3a hhmh. 

Moii OTeu, He 6bra xyaoxcHHKOM, 
ii xoTa b ceMbe 6biaH cKyabnTopw, 
b apTHCTHMecKOH cpeae a b aexcxBe 
hc >KHaa. nana omchb BHHMaTeab- 

HO OTHOCHaCa K MOeMy pHC0B3HHK), 

co6Hpaa piicyHKH b nanoMKy. Jlyx 
HCKyccTBa a omyTHaa Mepe3 Hero. 
CefiMac y MCHa cao5KHacsi CBOii 
Kpyr, Mame Bcero sto moh flpy3BJi- 
xyaoxHHKH. Ho Koraa a pa6oTaro, 
a hh Ha Koro ne opHeHxupyiocb, 
"apyrne" HaMHHaiox Meiuaxb. 



102 Heresies/idiomA 



Bee moii pa6oTbi pa3nwe, h mo- 

JIM KPHTHK3M XOXCHOCb 6bl OT MeHSI 

6ojit>ujeii hctocxhocxh, ctiijiiictii- 
iiecKoro eziHHCTBa. 3necb erne b/ihsi- 
hhc xeaxpa. Kor«a si pa6oxa.na h xe- 
aTpe, Bee BpeMsi npHxoaiuiocb 
HMeTi> fle/io c pa3Hofi Apatnaxyp- 
riteii, c pa3HMMn pe>KHCcepaMH. 
He/ib3$i aejiaxb Bee o«hhm h xeM 
jKe npiieMOM. 



"Yost cannot keep using 
the same device when 
you work with different 



HHoraa roBopsiT, mo b hckoto- 
pbix mohx pa6oxax CBex, a b hcko- 
xopwx xbMa. Mne cainoH sxox 
"CBex" npeflcxaBjisieTCsi HecKo.m>Ko 
C0MHnxe;ii>HbiM. HejioBCK b noxy- 
cxoponneM Mupe, M3Hyxpn, r^e ero 

HHKXO He BHflHX. CaMbIM "SfllinO- 
BWm", CaMMM "C)'MepeMHbIM" MOHM 

pa6oxaM Bceraa npeamecxBOBajia 

OMCHb KOHKpeXHaa, OMCHb 6bIX0Ba$I 

CHxyauM. Box Maxb-BeflbMa h cy- 
MaciueamHH ctra. 51 Biiaejia, KaK 
oh cpH3H"-iecKH cxpa«a/i, Korfla npii- 
: Mtpan cBaoaHHHH eio CBiixep, KaK 
pe3an noflapeHnyio py6auiKy. Hjih 
■': nopxpex inoeft noflpyra - si MHoro 
pa3 mrcajia ee b pa3Hwx Hacxpoe- 
hhsix, noKa mm He noexajin k hcm b 
: rocxH 3a rpamiuy - h xaM noccopw- 
.- .jihcf>. MHe npocxo Hafloe^o nwcaxb 
; ee jihu,o -us npHKpBuia ero po30- 

; BUM HiapHKOM, XOMHO X3KHM, K3- 

KHe BHfle^a bo BpeMsi Haiueii c Heft 
" nocjie^HeH npory^KH. Bee sto 
::OTCHb ^HMHbie CHTyaitHH, ho b xom 

BHfle, b KaKOM si hx H3o6pa>Kaio - a 
I si mmero b hhXj He npwflyMbiBaio - 
Johh cxanoBsixcsi qaexbro o6uu,ero 
;; MHpa h jienco y3Haioxca. TaK, mom 
|npnsixe/[b cpa3y y3Haji b "CBHxepe 
Swsi cbiHa" - TaM^exa. 



Haxa^ina TYPHOBA 

Pod. e 1957 e., a Kadyjw (Acpzanu- 

cmau) Okohhumi CrnpozcmoacKoe 

ytiuiuine 

1. 

Yvnixensi He 6buio. A Bee ocxajib- 
Hoe Bjmsuio. 

2. 

Cepte3H0H pojiH oxHomeHHe 
Nioeft ceMbii b Bbi6ope npocpeccnn 
He nrpajio HHKaKoft. Hhkxo b 
ceMbe He >Kna.rc, mto 6yj;y xv«o>khh- 
kom. 3axo noxoM 6buia noflaepxKa 
ox MaMH h Mv*a bo BceM. rtpn apy- 
rnx o6cTosixe^bcxBax, bo3mo>kho, y 
MeHa HHiero He nojiy^HJiocb 6m. 

4. 

51 flyMaio, ixo xyao»;ecxBeHHasi 
cpena flocTaToiHO cmibHo B03seft- 
CTByex Ha xy#o>KHHKa. KaK npaBH- 
no, 6e3 Hee noriyiaeTcsi nemo ap- 
xaiiMHoe, BHeBpeineHHoe m 6e3as- 
pecHoe. 

5. 

^xo Kacaexcsi xHnn<iHbix npo- 

CpeCCHOHajIbHHX cobcxob, xo hx He 

6biBaex. Te, Ha KOTopbie cxohx 06- 

pamaXb BHHMaHIie, KOHKpeXHbl B 

Kaxfloft CHxyau,Hn. A ocxa^bHbie 
He 3anoMHHaio. KaxAuft coBex 
yxe xopoui xeM, mo 3a Te6si kxo- 
xo noflyMa^. Ocxaexcsi xojibko ou,e- 

HHXb - npaBHJIbHO h/ih Hex. 

7. 

B oxHouieHHH xaHpa hjih enma 
- cxapaiocb He onpeflejisixbcsi KaK 

mo>kho flO^bUie, mxo6m OCXaBHXb 

ce6e xoxa 6r h;uiio3hio CBo6oflbi 
fle^axb hxo B3AyMaexcsi. 



"I try to abstain from 

self-identification . 

to leave myself 

the illusion of freedom to 

do what I like." 



fljisi MeHa nojiHXHMecKHft nopx- 
pex - nonbixKa coeflHHHxb KOHKpex- 
Hoe omymeHHe ox Hauiero BpeMe- 

HH C HHflHBHflyajIbHMM nOflXOflOM K 

Ka>Kfl0My ^Huy. Mom Mexoa - hc- 

n0^b30BaTb xpaflHUHOHHbie >khbo- 

nHCHbie cpeacxBa: toh, u,Bex, cpaK- 
Typy, Ma30K h t.a. - kto ixo 3axo- 
ieT yBHueTb. B 



the light seems somewhat dubious. A person 
exists beyond the everyday world, the inner 
person that no one can see. 

The most "oedipal," the most "twilight" of my 
paintings can be traced back to absolutely 
concrete, everyday experiences. Here is a witch 
and her insane son. I saw with my own eyes how 
he suffered when he tried on a sweater she had 
knit for him, how he cut into pieces a shirt she 
had given him. Or the portrait of a friend of mine, 
who often modeled for me. I painted her face in 
different moods. Then she went abroad to live, 
and when I went to see her in her new home, we 
suddenly quarreled. I was bored at the prospect 
of just painting her portrait, so I covered her face 
with a pink balloon. These are all very personal 
situations, but they become part of the world and 
also recognizable when I make them into 
pictures. Thus a friend of mine recognized a 
reference to Hamlet as soon as he saw my 
picture Sweater for the Son. 

Natalya TURNOVA 

Born 1957 Kabul, Afghanistan 
Graduate of Stroganov Art School 

1. I did not have a teacher at all, but a lot of 
influences. 

2. My family's attitude did not play any role in my 
choice of profession. Nobody expected me to be 
an artist, but later on, my mother gave me 
support in whatever I did. Without her help I could 
have been a failure. 

4. I believe artistic environment influences the artist 
rather strongly. As a rule, without the influence, 
what one does comes out archaic, timeless, and 
addressing nobody. 

5. As for general professional advice, it does not 
exist. Advice that is worth considering is concrete 
in every case. I simply forget all the rest. Any 
advice is useful, because someone has taken 
the trouble to think for you. It remains only to see 
if it is correct or not. 

7. As for genre or style, I try to abstain from self- 
identification as long as possible, to leave myself 
the illusion of freedom to do what I like. 

Political portraiture forme is an attempt to join a 
concrete impression of the contemporary world 
with an individual approach to each face. My 
method is to use traditional painting, meaning 
the tone, color, texture, brushwork — whatever 
the viewer would like to see. B 



Heresies/idiomA 103 



-~"1 



Women in Poverty 



Our Summer 1992 issue explores poverty as a women's issue. An array of social 
structures function to 'set women up for poverty', and many women — as single 
parents, as Native women, as elderly widows, as homeless, as disabled, as 
immigrants — are forced to get by on too little. This issue provides a provocative 
analysis of the issues surrounding 'the feminization of poverty'. It documents the 
lived experiences of some of the women who are struggling with poverty and 
discusses strategies for fighting back, including community health care, caring for 
the homeless and new ways of approaching single motherhood and child poverty. 
The issue is an invaluable resource for those who are trying to overcome poverty 
themselves, and for those who are committed to assisting them in their struggle. 

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BATTERED WOMEN'S SHELTER VICTIMIZED 
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IN DECEMBER 1991, the Counseling Coordinator of the IowaCity Domestic 
Violence Intervention Project, Beth George, was arrested for alleged inter- 
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Her children were returned to their father and she was not allowed a visit in 
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Several years prior to this incident, Beth had fled from her husband fearing 
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with a new identity for herself and her two children. She took this action to 
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In February 1992, an Iowa City attorney mounted a media attack on the Iowa 
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national underground railroad. DCI investigators have interrogated shelter 
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of the shelter and infringed upon the statutory right of confidentiality be- 
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Beth George was subsequently arrested and charged with perjury and tam- 
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maximum sentence is seven years and/or a $7000 fine. She has been threat- 
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BETH GEORGE NEEDS YOUR SUPPORT. The legal fees are devastating and 
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utiny and the Mainstream: 

Talk That Changed Art, 1975-1990 

Edited by Judy Seigel 



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In 222 live "art talk" events - panel discussions, presenta- 
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wrangle with ideas and each other in their own passionate, 
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But all the reports were made on the spot, as artists and 
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All the themes of the 20th century are dished up in this rich 
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the editor adds background, commentary, cross-references 
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Mutiny and the Mainstream: Talk That Changed Art, 1975- 
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■*#„: 

>>4l 



Martha Alsup, 

member of the 
Heresies "Great 
Goddess" collective, 
was murdered with her 
lover, Susan Galvin, on 
a beach in Anguila on 
November 28, 1988. 

The women were 
stabbed and beaten to 
death by a seventeen- 
year-old boy who was 
out on probation at the 
time for a previous 
assault on an 
American woman. He 
was subsequently 
found guilty and 
sentenced to life 
imprisonment. 

In 1976 and 1977 
when we on the 
Goddess collective 
knew her, Martha was 
just recovering from 
her first brush with 
death. She had been 
hit head-on in a car 
crash and had lived for 
more than a month in 
a coma. She had 
sustained severe 
injuries and was 




ISllill 

WBBT 



1131111 



IN MEMORIAL 

Martha Alsup 

1949-1988 



beginning to 
rebuild her life. 
The Winter 
Solstice of the year we 
were together, the 
Great Goddess 
collective gathered to 
share a ritual and 
bonfire for the longest 
night of the year. 
Martha was ecstatic 
that night. She flew on 
the flames. She looks, 
in retrospect, like an 
angel. Here are 
Martha's own words, 
excerpted from her 
piece in the Goddess 
issue: 

It's so important 
to see all the leaving. 
Don't let them hide 
the knowing from you. 
To see clearly you'll 
have to see through 
your pain. It gets so 
beautiful when you 
admit what's real. To 
die is no sadder than 
anything else. 

Donna Henes 



^\m^M^M^M^mM^mM^mM^S^Mm^M^M^M^M^^M^M^^M&2M^MSM^IQM^MdBBM&^M&^I^ 



Heresies Collective, Inc. 

wishes to thank Arlene Boop and Daniel 

Alterman of Alterman & Boop, P.C., for 

their assistance and support. 

Alterman 



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i 

i 

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1 
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A general-practice law firm concentrating on 

civil rights, personal injury, real estate, 

tenant representation, employment discrimination and 

sexual harassment, wills and estates, contracts, 

representation of 

co-op boards, not-for-profit and general business 

corporations, and all types of litigation. 

The Law Building 

35 Worth Street 
- New York, New York 10013 212/226-2800 



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.you won't be ready for the '90s! 

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HERESIES P.O. Box 1306 Canal St. Station 
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